Plane fires are not something you see every day. Nonetheless, the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point ensure they remain prepared and proficient in the event of an emergency.
The ARFF conducted a practice firefighter evaluation at MCAS Cherry Point, NC on January 6, 2022. The evaluation is an annual requirement to ensure all firefighters are able to perform their duties in safely and correctly. Firefighters were given the opportunity to complete a practice assessment to ensure success when they complete the formal assessment in their birth month.
“Practice assessment provides the opportunity to measure our shortcomings so that we can do better when we do the actual assessment.” U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Colby Bourn, ARFF firefighter
For the practical evaluation, the firefighters were equipped with partial fire equipment. During official assessment, they will be equipped with full cargo gear including mask, self-contained breathing apparatus, etc. In total, their gear weighs over 60 pounds.
The practice assessment course includes nine challenges: a pipe carry, a ladder climb, a loaded pipe pull, a victim drag, a stair climb, a speed pull, a simulating tire slam a forced entry, the lowering of a ladder and a speed transport. These challenges are intended to simulate the most common firefighting operations that firefighters would perform in real-life scenarios.
“There hasn’t been a major aerial incident at Cherry Point in some time,” the U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Donovan O’Rourke, one of the fire station captains. “But ARFF Marines must remain ready and capable in the event of an emergency.”