Civilian Firefighters Keep Camp Safe
Kate A. Hoit
AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — A team of 20 civilians under the U.S.
Army’s command here toil day in and day out fighting fires
with Air Force personnel.
Kate A. Hoit / DoD Photo
by Wackenhut Services Incorporated, the firefighters are a team
assembled from throughout the United States. Their mission is
to provide the installation with a full service support program
ranging from fire suppression, fire prevention, aircraft rescue
and firefighting, technical rescue, hazardous materials and basic
life support services.
arrival in April, they replaced Soldiers who fought fires at LSA
Anaconda during the previous year.
the Army firefighters left, they helped us out with anything and
everything we needed. From maps to tools and helping us get settled
in, they were there for us,” said David Baggett, WSI firefighter.
also taught us tricks of the trade; because we are dealing with
situations we have not seen in the ‘real world,’”
The WSI team
is part of two main fire departments at LSA Anaconda. WSI covers
everything except the airfield, which is covered by the Air Force
detachment. Each fire department has specific primary roles, but
are strategic partners. For WSI, their main concern is focusing
on structural fire protection, while the Air Force focuses on
aircraft rescue firefighting.
WSI responded to 73 incidents. They typically respond to 17 to
20 calls a week, including medical calls, hazardous material and
The 20 firemen
work in three different stations on camp. Their work begins at
7 a.m., when they inspect their trucks and gear. At this time,
they exchange information and discuss possible training for that
day. They set aside at least one hour a day for multiple types
practice ranges from structural fire, emergency medical services,
equipment and mock situations training,” Baggett said. “So,
many of the guys have years and years of experience, and we continue
to contribute knowledge to one another. It helps with the overall
the usual building and military shipping container fires, the
team also responds to calls on suspicious packages. Firefighters
stand ready and await the arrival of the explosive ordnance disposal
teams. Additionally when LSA Anaconda comes under hostile fire,
they secure and survey the scene. The team also assists in all
the Air Force presents both sets of firefighters with unique circumstances.
of us come from different locations and education from around
the United States,” said Bill Taylor, acting assistant chief
for WSI. “One thing about firefighters, no matter were you
are from, we have all come together with a common goal to provide
LSA Anaconda with the most professional firefighters providing
fire protection and medical care available.”
Kate A. Hoit, 301st Area Support Group Public Affairs Office)