MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
When it comes to safety, there can never be too many helping hands, such is the case when the Minot Air Force Base fire department invited several other local fire departments to receive missile field response training Feb. 24-25, 2017.
“We hosted a North Dakota Fire Association training class for our mutual aid partners, which educates them on how to handle missile alert facility and launch facility mishaps, as well as any other hazards they come across,” said Matt Whitehead, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department operator.
The 5th CES fire department coordinated the training to help their local brothers in red preparedness to work hand-in-hand with them if needed.
“We took them to a launch facility trainer on base, and provided them education on different equipment like helicopters and Bearcats,” Whitehead said.
Jamie Reese, West Dunn Fire Department firefighter from Killdeer, North Dakota, was one of the many local firemen who participated in the training.
“We went through emergency responses for missile silos and helicopters,” Reese said, “We trained on responding to emergencies if an Air Force apparatus comes near our area.”
This is not the first time the 5th CES has trained with their partners, but a first time training on base.
“This is the second year we’ve held the training, last year we hosted it at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds,” Whitehead said. “This year we decided to have it here for better access to our equipment to enhance training.”
Reese understands the importance for his fire department, as well as the surrounding departments, to train and be ready for an emergency.
“We have missile silos and the Air Force in our backyard, so it’s nice to meet these guys and see how they do things and show them how we do things,” Reese said. “I know I learned a lot of things, it was a really good training.”
Although they don’t necessarily represent the same team, White understands the importance of working together to keep the surrounding towns, base and all of its assets safe.
“It’s very important to we meet with other fire departments because it gives them an idea of what to look for in an emergency and helps everyone stay safe,” Whitehead said.