JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
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
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 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
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.”