F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
As a whole within the Air Force it is our job to maintain mission readiness and the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron is constantly striving to maintain and exceed a level of mission readiness through training and exercise. As part of this month’s training, the fire department saw the importance of having external rescuers certified to respond to the three wind turbines located on base, in the event of an incident.
June 4-6 four firefighters from F.E. Warren completed the 3M Capital Safety Wing Turbine Climb Safety and Tower Rescue certification training through the Outreach and Workforce Development Program at Laramie County Community College.
“The training included eight hours of classroom lecture and eight hours of practical training at the college’s Wind Energy Program Climb Safety Lab,” said Steve Hrkach, Laramie County Community College wind technology program instructor. “The training was capped off when the team climbed the Gamesa G87 wind turbine on base.”
The training encompassed three points of rescue, including ladder recovery, nacelle components and rescue from the top of the turbine.
Despite the numerous amount of wind turbines in the local area, no fire department has training in wind turbine rescue and recovery. The base fire department decided to be proactive and partner with LCCC to receive the three-day rescue portion of the wind turbine technician course. They received a 2-year certification after the completion of the course.
“We have a mutual aid agreement with the civilian fire departments near here,” said Jeremie Barrett, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron lead firefighter captain. “In the event of an incident off base, we can send men out to assist with rescue and recovery. However, there is not a high demand of rescue, because the two-man team is highly trained and practice safety constantly.”
Four members of the F.E. Warren 90th Civil Engineer Squadron participated in the training and if the turbines remain a permanent fixture on base, future plans may arise to certify others on the approximately 240 stair turbine.
“I’m glad we did it because the turbines are right in our backyard,” said Barrett. “We need to have some idea of what is going on out there, and it helps us understand and encompass the whole cell.”
LCCC has offered their facilities and mock turbine components for the fire department to train each other to increase familiarity.