Skip to comments.Afghan student firefighters put to the test
Posted on 05/20/2008 5:27:51 PM PDT by SandRat
5/20/2008 - KABUL, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Eleven Afghan National Army Air Corps student firefighters tested during an unexpected training exercise held May 12 here.
The exercise was the culminating event of a four-month course designed to prepare the members of the ANAAC for emergencies of all types.
The course has been conducted under the sole mentorship of Master Sgt. Michael Marascia, a Combined Air Power Transition Force instructor, who is deployed from the Civil Engineer Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
"Initially, they had some basic knowledge of fighting fires," Sergeant Marascia said. "But before we arrived, they did not know how to properly use their oxygen breathing apparatus."
During the course, the students were taught firefighting techniques and procedures and how to provide first-aid skills
His students have come a long way in the past ten weeks, Sergeant Marascia said.
"We had to un-teach some of their older habits, but our biggest limitation has been the lack of equipment," he said. "We can only teach 12 students at a time because that's all the equipment we have."
For firefighter student Amanullah (who only has one name), a 29-year-old from the Parwan Province, the initial days of training were the hardest part, he said.
"The first live-fire training was difficult," Amanullah said. "We started a fire in an enclosed area and then went inside and shut the door to feel the effects of the fire. It was so hot inside there; my skin felt like it was burning, but we experienced how well our gear protected us. Our teacher has taught us a lot."
In the next few years we plan to train 1,500 firefighters, said Sergeant Marascia.
A member of the Afghan National Army Air Corps responds to a fire during an exercise May 12 at Kabul, Afghanistan, while attending a firefighting course. The four-month course was mentored by Master Sgt. Michael Marascia from the Combined Air Power Transition Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Douglas Mappin)