MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station firefighters aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, recently completed their Urban Search and Rescue Technical Search Training course at the station firehouse Aug. 28, 2013.
The course, provided by Safety Solutions Incorporated, taught firefighters the abilities of detecting, locating and rescuing victims of an earthquake, tsunami or any other type natural disaster.
"Iwakuni Team One is always on standby in case of any type of emergency,” said Ken Kobayashi, station firefighter and crew chief. “If an earthquake were to hit Iwakuni, our team would be the first to respond.”
Firefighters spent the majority of their time in classroom instruction studying different rescue techniques, nomenclature and use of their equipment and potential hazards that can affect a rescue. In addition, they practiced mock scenarios in preparation for their practical application as the final exam.
“The fire department has limited personnel, so the goal is to make sure they're all a capable of being able to perform these tasks in an efficient manner,” said Harry Muns, Chula Vista, Calif., battalion chief and course instructor.
Their practical application consisted of a culmination of events, testing their skills learned throughout the course.
For the first day, an initial recon team collected data on all the buildings and searched for any possible quick rescues.
“If the recon team comes across a trapped victim that would take an extended period of time to rescue, their job is to note that information in their (global positioning system) and maps,” said Muns. “Then they pass that information to the secondary team will come back and be more suited to rescue those victims.”
For the second day of the exam, the secondary team received the information about the trapped victims and proceeded to extract them.
Instructors watched closely ensuring all firefighters were following their procedures correctly and stepped in at times to give some tips.
In the end, the crew managed to successfully rescue all of the trapped victims safely, passing the course.
Their completion of this training adds to a long list of training accomplishments, including Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear materials training and First Responders training.