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U.S. Marine Corps Tyler Tesch with Aircraft, Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Marine, uses Holmatro Jaws of Life during a training event on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, on April 23, 2021. The training introduced the new Marine Corps standardized weapons to Cherry Point and demonstrated efficient rescue techniques. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic

Aircraft, Fire and Rescue Receive New Marine Corps Standardized Rescue Equipment

23 Apr 2021 | Lance Cpl. Symira Bostic Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Aircraft, Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) conducted training with newly standardized equipment and gear as a part of the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) service-wide equipment fielding effort at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina April 23, 2021.

The Cherry Point unit is among the first to receive the new standard-issued equipment during the initial phase of the rollout.

It is part of Combat Development and Integration’s (CD&I) goal to provide ARFF with more reliable, maneuverable, and powerful rescue tools. The Expeditionary Firefighting and Rescue Equipment (EFR) office from the MCSC led the way in researching and fielding, determining Holmatro to be the brand of choice for Marine Corps ARFF operations.
The EFR office said the transition is important to the modernizing and centralizing of firefighting gear.

“We need to be able to go from different units and use the same equipment,” they said. “Same maintenance, same structure so we’re interchangeable if we detach.”

Fielding and delivery of the equipment also came with training provided by a representative from the manufacturer. In addition to demonstrating how to use the gear properly, the Holmatro rep advised on different lifesaving techniques.

“He was able to teach us not only about the tools, but he added in different techniques for us to be able to advance ourselves and see them used in various scenarios,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Logan Davis, an ARFF firefighter.

According to the EFR team, transitioning is important because gear, no matter how often it is used, is only good for so long. They said Holmatro is easier to use and has a much longer shelf life than the previous tools ARFF was using.

“Our old equipment is from the early 2000s to late 90s,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Tyler Tesch, an ARFF firefighter. “It’s all heavier and takes longer to set up. With Holmatro, we can deploy our equipment faster and trust in its reliability.”

The equipment also came with a new, much appreciated system of annual maintenance, according to ARFF staff.

“Before, we would have to do the maintenance ourselves,” said Davis. “This system allows us to annually have someone come in to look over the equipment and if something breaks, it gets fixed right away. We’re not stuck with downed equipment when an emergency happens.”

The EFR team was on hand to monitor the training and verify that the equipment was in line with expectations, and to gather the raw feedback from fleet forces in case additional needs have to be addressed.

“We don’t know what needs changing, the Marines do,” they said. “We change things based off the information from the Marines.”

Tesch said he and other ARFF staff appreciate the time and effort put into their training.

“It shows they care about the crash crew community and the progression of junior Marines,” said Tesch. “It shows they are listening to the troops and looking out for their needs.”

The EFR team said in the future they foresee ARFF performing the same operations but much quicker.

“They’re tools that will help us more efficiently save lives and protect property,” they said.

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