MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Airmen from the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron rush by each other as they don their gear and sprint to their assigned trucks armed with water cannons, hoses and all essential equipment they need.
With a maximum of seven minutes to get to a structural emergency, these Airmen have no room for mistakes. They work hard every day to ensure mission readiness.
“We cover the safety of the base whether its, structural, medical, aircraft or any other emergencies,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Montano 5th Civil Engineer Squadron Station Chief. “When everybody goes home for the day we’re still here waiting for that call.”
The 5th CES Firefighter’s main concern is that the airfield and aircraft are secure.
“Our main mission here is making sure the airfield is safe,” said Montano. “Any incident that happens on the airfield we’ll be there in a moment’s notice.”
Montano said the 5th CES will respond and be at a structural emergency in under seven minutes, five minutes for an aircraft emergency and one minute for dispatch. Fire emergency services also have one minute to suit up and hop in their trucks, and the next three or five minutes to get to their destination.
“As soon as someone calls our dispatch center and we receive that information we’re already suiting up and getting out of the station,” said Montano. “Whether it’s on the flight line or base housing we will be there.”
Montano said that they spend a lot of time training because he believes that if you don’t train on something regularly you might forget how to accomplish that task.
Airman 1st Class Wilciguss Wimbish, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron Firefighter, said that they utilize many different types of equipment for every situation they are presented with.
“We have an A Shift and B Shift which switch off every other day which are on call 24/7,” said Wimbish. “Firefighter Airmen eat, sleep and train at the station.”
When on scene firefighters figure out what the problem is and implement tactics to mitigate the situation.
“After every emergency we head back to the fire station and resupply,” said Montano. “We do an inventory check and have a briefing about what was good, bad and what we can improve.”
“During an emergency people are usually looking for comfort and we are that comfort,” said Montano. “We’re here when no one else is.”