Fort Sill firefighters practice nighttime aircrew evacuation training

After accessing the helicopter, Fort Sill firefighters concentrate on getting the victim out and to safety during the nighttime aircrew evacuation training on Henry Post Army Air Field Saturday.

Fort Sill firefighters gathered at Station #2 at the Henry Post Army Airfield to conduct aircrew extraction training at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18, 20 and 22. The reason for scheduling the training over three days is to ensure all shifts of Fort Sill firefighters receive the nighttime extraction training.

Steven Cusumano, a firefighter at Station #2, said they do the training to keep up with the necessary skills they would need if an airplane or helicopter crash-landed at the airfield. “Our job is to ensure that the personnel in the aircraft are out and away from the craft and to keep the hazmat (hazardous material), which could be fuel or ammunition, contained. We continuously train so if an aircraft crash-landed we would be able to evacuate them as quickly as possible.”

The current training is nighttime egress, which is required yearly. There is also daytime egress training, which is required quarterly to maintain firefighter proficiency.

“Today we are doing a rescue so we will have a mannequin in the prop helicopter here on the airfield, and we will rotate the crews from the other stations through so that every firefighter will have a chance to do the rescue in the different positions on the truck,” said Cusumano.