MINOT AIR FORCE BASE A volunteer fire department is typically the lifeline of the people in rural communities, according to Paul Lambert, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, assistant chief of training.
These men and women remain on call 24/7. A volunteer firefighter is dedicated to the same lifestyle of commitment and seriousness as a full-time firefighter, with a fraction of the training and the possibility of no pay.
"Often they are the only ones available to meet public safety needs in rural areas because there is no funded emergency medical team available, or even in the vicinity," said Lambert. "A volunteer firefighter requires continuous training to ensure he or she is adequately prepared for the variety of situations that may develop."
A volunteer fireman from the Burlington Fire Department takes a break after putting out a fire during a training exercise in Burlington on June 23, shown in this photo by Senior Airman Brittany Y. Bateman. Members of the Minot Air Force Base Fire Department provided training to surrounding volunteer fire departments to assist them with their training needs.
With that in mind, the Minot AFB Fire Department has offered training to surrounding volunteer fire departments to assist them with their training needs.
"So far we have provided training to the North Dakota cities of Burlington, Berthold, Des Lacs and Minot Rural," said Lambert. "Every year we also assist the city department with keeping their Federal Aviation Administration requirements current by conducting live fire training on our training grounds here on the base."
In the past, the Minot AFB Fire Department focused its training efforts during the North Dakota Fire School. However, last year they started providing training with local departments using 91st Missile Wing assets.
"We had the 54th Helicopter Squadron land a UH-N1 Huey, and the 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron brought a payload transporter van to the Minot city training grounds," said Lambert. "We also extended an invitation to Burlington Volunteer Fire Department as well, for hands on training."
If there is an emergency involving government assets outside the base property, chances are very likely it will be one of the two 91st Missile Wing assets, stated Lambert.
"There's no better way to prepare a department than to show them first-hand what they are dealing with," said Lambert. "This year our training program is proactive and on the road. I started taking the live fire helicopter trainer to mutual aid departments, in their own training areas, with their response equipment and personnel, so the training will better mirror a possible emergency event."
As we develop our training program for our volunteer departments, we have nothing but positive feedback from the helicopter and PT van personnel, stated Lambert.
"This training is about saving lives and property. Both organizations see the benefit, and at times require shifting their time tables a little to fit in the training, so we are very thankful to them for their continued flexibility," said Lambert. "It truly is a Team Minot effort."