Firefighters stamp out flames
By Pfc. Leah R. Burton
28th Public Affairs Detachment
LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — The firefighters of the LSA Anaconda pull 24-hour shifts at three fire stations around post, responding quickly in order to save buildings, tents and vehicles from the lethal enemy, fire.
The rescue teams are always prepared to respond to all types of emergencies around the installation.
"We provide fire response and emergency medical response for the LSA and assist the Air Force with any aircraft emergencies along the flight line," said Spc. Benjamin Majewski, 907th Engineer Detachment.
The emergency teams conduct daily maintenance of their vehicles and gear and have all their mission-essential equipment ready to be operated at the drop of a match. The rescue workers pass the time conducting training and working on getting various certifications.
The firefighters respond in one to two minutes of receiving a call. In that short amount of time, they must don their gear, which includes bunker pants, coat, boots, Nomex hood and a self-contained breathing apparatus. They also carry an ax, pry tool and flashlight.
For their own protection, they are equipped with a personal alert safety system that sounds an alarm should they be struck down and remain motionless for several minutes.
Working with two teams of four people, one team of three people and a water supply team of two people, wearing gear that weighs upwards of 50 pounds, they respond to such incidents as hazardous material spills, vehicle accidents, mortar attacks, and electrical or generator fires.
The number one cause of fires on LSA Anaconda is faulty electrical wiring.
"We do inspections. We tell people to make corrections. Sometimes they don't make those corrections," Majewski said.
The corrections include things like refraining from overloading electrical circuits, replacing the batteries in the smoke detectors, replacing unserviceable fire extinguishers or cleaning up cluttered work and living areas.
Running a close second to faulty wiring is negligence. Negligence constitutes everything from leaving an iron turned on to throwing a lit cigarette into the garbage can.
"I'd say we have a minimum of one dumpster fire a week from people throwing away lit cigarettes," Majewski said.
There are measures residents of LSA Anaconda can take to prevent fires in their facilities. Every unit should have a designated fire marshal who conducts monthly fire inspections of the building or tent, checking for clearly marked and accessible exits and operational fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
"Tent fires are the worst. The fabric of the white living tents is treated with a flammable liquid. They burn very quickly. From the point the fire starts to the tent being pretty much gone is two minutes," Majewski said.
"When you lose a tent, you lose everything and you can't get it back," said Sgt. Jamel Linzsey, 907th EN Det.
It's everyone's responsibility to pay attention to obvious fire hazards, such as overloaded circuits and built-up trash.
"Common sense must be used in tents and buildings to prevent non-combat injuries. Maintain situational awareness and prevent yourself from becoming a casualty," Majewski said.
All of these preventive measures help make the firefighters job easier and keep the residents of LSA Anaconda safe.
The Fire Station 2 personnel consist of Soldiers from the 475th EN Det. from Iowa, the 907th Engineer Detachment from Washington and the 266th Ordnance Company from Puerto Rico. The Soldiers work hand-in-hand with airmen from the 732nd and 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadrons.
Editors Note: Pfc. Burton is a member of the 28th Public Affairs Detachment from Fort Lewis, Wash. She is currently deployed to Iraq in support of the 13th Corps Support Command at LSA Anaconda.
(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Sgt. Jamel Lizsey, a crew chief from the 907th Engineer Detachment suits up in preparation for another mission extinguishing fires around LSA Anaconda Aug 13. (released) (US Army photo by Pfc. Leah R. Burton)
(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Spc. Benjamin Majewski, 907th Engineer Detachment, pulls his fire truck out of the bay during a training session Aug. 13. (US Army photo by Pfc. Leah R. Burton)