NEWS | Oct. 8, 2015

JBSA-Randolph firefighters support local flying missions, surrounding community

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

Whether it be responding to an inflight emergency, extinguishing a burning building or responding to a medical call, the firefighters at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph aim to "take the heat" without breaking a sweat.

Sporting more than 50 firefighters in rotating 24 hour shifts of up to 15 people, the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron mission is to be prepared for any situation.

“Our mission is to provide fire support to the bases,” Cliff Martinez, 502nd CES station captain, said. “Our mission includes providing fire support for both aircraft and buildings, responding to medical emergencies, providing hazardous material response teams and technical rescue.”

Aside from monthly and annual required training, 502nd CES members undergo specialty courses to improve their ability to quickly and efficiently respond to whatever situation arises.

“Our training starts in the DoD fire academy and continues here as we build upon that with specialty courses and five level training,” Airman 1st Class Brett Anderson, 502nd CES firefighter, said. “Here we gain skills including dispatcher training, rope rescue techniques, how to operate different truck systems, hazardous material operations and emergency first aid.”

Anderson said a normal day at the JBSA-Randolph fire station is all about making sure equipment is functional and members are on standby for a call.

A typical day begins when members from the incoming shift meet with those from the prior shift to discuss any events that took place the previous day and to prepare for any upcoming activities. Firefighters check all emergency equipment and perform any needed maintenance before training classes begin. After all official duties are done, the team works on physical strength and readiness, all while remaining ready to respond to any call at any time.

“We have traditions here among the firefighters that tie us together across JBSA, not just this specific location,” Anderson said. “We have shift and holiday dinners together, try to work out together as a group and stand together when a fellow JBSA firefighter passes. Since we work 24 hours with each other, we practically have to act like family.”

When needed, JBSA-Randolph firefighters also provide support to other JBSA locations and local community fire departments.

“Our general goal overall on the job is to protect ourselves, others, property and the environment,” Martinez said. “Personal safety and crew safety are the first and most important lessons taught to incoming firefighters.”

Despite the fact that it’s a serious and dangerous profession, Anderson said the preparation and camaraderie developed each day are key tools to success as a firefighter.

“My favorite part of this job is that each day is never the same,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen, and you have to constantly be ready for anything.”