NEWS | Sept. 2, 2008

JTF-Bravo FD works with Honduran AF, fire fighters in training

By Staff Sgt. Joel Mease Joint Task Force-Bravo

The Joint Task Force-Bravo fire department trained with Honduran Air Force and local firefighters Aug. 25-28 during a subject matter expert exchange between countries.

The purpose of the joint training was to give fire fighters and military from the United States and Honduras the opportunity to share information, learn lessons from one another and build teamwork, said Capt. Bill Notbohm, JTF-Bravo base civil engineer.

The class spent the week training on issues from land navigation to repelling and rescue classes.

"We do this really for two main reasons. First the interchange of information, which only helps both sides," Captain Notbohm said. "Second, we have a mutual aid agreement between the two of us where the knowledge of people and techniques is critical if they call on us or if we need to call them."

The possibility of using what they learn together in these subject matter expert exchanges can be very real, said Herberth Gaekel, JTF-Bravo fire inspector.

"Not too long ago we had a bus accident which we responded to where more than 20 people died," Mr. Gaekel said. "What we learned from that is common training is essential, so everyone is familiar with different recovery tactics."

Master Sgt. Patrick Miller agrees that the exchanges are vital to maintaining communication in a crisis scenario.

"The training allows us to learn what they know and what they can do as well as for them to learn what we're capable of," Sergeant Miller said. "Working together only improves everyone's skills."

The exchanges between the two countries are also of a personal interest to Mr. Gaekel.

"I believe everyone has to be involved, so it is important to teach how to be safe while saving lives," Mr. Gaekel said. "We only get one life in this world; we have to make the most of it."