AFMC Command News

U.S. Air Force, Canadian Armed Forces firefighters conduct joint training

  • Published
  • By Emily Mifsud
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

Firefighters from the Canadian Armed Forces are evaluating results of a recent proof-of-concept joint training with Department of the Air Force firefighters at the Silver Flag exercise site on Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, in mid-October. 

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, in partnership with members of the 801st RED HORSE Training Squadron, developed a curriculum for the proof-of-concept training and provided the facilities and equipment to help the Canadian firefighters meet annual firefighting certification requirements.  

One of the AFCEC Fire Emergency Services Division team’s primary missions is to develop training curricula and tactics, techniques and procedures for Department of the Air Force firefighters. The 801 RHTS operates the Silver Flag site, which is the largest combat support training location in the Air Force. 

“Once upon a time, we had these capabilities but we’re still working to get our training facilities built back up,” said Capt. Peter Kearley, chief instructor of Canadian Forces Fire and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) Academy. “We don’t have these pieces now and the opportunity to train at Silver Flag is filling that gap.” 

Alongside the RED HORSE cadre, 12 members of the CAF participated in the training which recreated real-life scenarios so participants could learn the proper techniques and procedures for extinguishing fires and conducting emergency rescue operations.  

The longtime first-responder allies frequently work together, so this training opportunity helped strengthen relationships and align capabilities. 

“We were able to share strategies and tactics and see how standard operating procedures for firefighting up north compare to our procedures,” said SMSgt. Jesse Marshall, AFCEC fire and emergency services force development manager. “When we deploy together down range, this integrated training will help the future fight since we will already have that relationship built, so there is a common understanding of positions and tactics to effectively mitigate any emergency effectively.” 

The proof-of-concept training allowed the military forces to observe each other’s fundamentals for executing the mission at hand. While there are some differences, like certain terminology and operating procedures, they are also very similar.  

“We learned that CAF firefighters operate utilizing the same national standards we do in the Air Force Fire Protection career field, which is very invaluable information if we ever deploy together,” said MSgt. Dennis Scott, 801st RHTS section chief for fire contingency training. “They are also familiar with our fireground practices and the equipment we use, so it was an easy transition since they didn’t have to start from scratch.” 

The training also provided the opportunity to learn new techniques.  

“Coming down here to the Silver Flag facility and getting to train with real fire and other firefighters outside our branch is beneficial training for us,” said Sgt. Marius Cyr, CAF platoon chief. “The interrelation training is always great as you’re able to pass on knowledge and get new knowledge to develop new tools and practices.” 

The two countries’ teams will evaluate the training and review lessons learned to determine if it can provide a beneficial and sustainable option for CAF firefighters to meet their annual training requirements.