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Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Marines stationed at Cherry Point participate in shipboard aircraft firefighting training Oct. 3 on the flight line. The Marines, assisted by Navy personnel from the Naval Air Technical Training Center, put out simulated fires to become more efficient in accomplishing their main goal, which is to save lives.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Unique B. Roberts

Crash Fire Rescue trains to fight fires on ships

11 Oct 2013 | Lance Cpl. Unique B. Roberts

Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Marines participated simulated in shipboard aircraft firefighting training here Oct. 3 to ensure they are prepared to handle worst-case scenarios that may arise while deployed at sea.

Realism for this training is provided by the Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Training Device.

The MAFTD is an aircraft fuselage wiht wings, a tail section and three engines. The device can simulate wheel, cockpit and engine fires. The fire and smoke is fed by a propane hose and ignited by electrical connections running from the operating unit.

The training provides Marines with multiple training scenarios including live internal and external fires, and search and rescue training opportunities.

Cpl. David K. Rowe said the MAFTD is a valuable tool that helps him ensure his Marines are well-rounded and ready when called upon.

“I try to be diverse when planning training,” said the training noncommissioned officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274. “This is definitely a job where knowledge is power.”

During the training, the Marines also worked on their firefighter dispatcher skills and learned how to apply firefighting strategies and procedures for the attack, control and extinguishment of fires.

“The more we prepare for an emergency to happen, the more ready we will be to respond to a fire,” said Rowe.

 “There is the basic fire they will fight and as they get more advanced, the Marines will go through an overhaul process,” said Petty Officer First Class Charles R. Ellis Jr., an instructor with the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla.

The Marines respond to different types of fires with different tools and tactics, he said. The more variables that are included in the equation, the more advanced the tactics need to be to ensure success. Shipboard aircraft fires could be loaded with variables like injured or trapped personnel or internal and external fires.

“The process includes shutting down the aircraft, fighting external and internal fires and rescuing people,” Said Ellis.

Rowe said ensuring the Marines are continuously training and learning is crucial to their ability to perform when others are counting on their skills.

“It’s literally a life or death matter,” said Rowe. “In most cases we don’t get a second chance to do the job over and that’s why the training is essential.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point