Pumping Innovation into the 97 AMW Fire Department


Phil Duczyminski, a subject matter specialist for FAAC, a firefighting simulation company, talks to the 97th Air Mobility Wing Fire Department about how to operate their new pump operations simulator, Nov. 20, 2018, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. This is one of three simulators the fire department is receiving to help make training easier and more efficient. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Jeremy Wentworth)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. By Airman First Class Jeremy Wentworth, 97 AMW PA / Published November 30, 2018

For firefighters, proper training can mean the difference between life and death. Since the equipment firefighters train with is expensive to operate, certain training practices are inefficient or even impossible to complete.

That is why the 97th Air Mobility Wing Fire Department has been hard at work acquiring equipment which allows them to train in simulated conditions.

The first simulator they received was a FLAIM fire simulator, which utilizes virtual reality in order to train firefighters on proper firehose tactics in a variety of scenarios.

On November 27, 2018, the 97 AMW Fire Department unveiled their newest simulator.

“We provided the 97th Air Mobility Wing with a pump operations training simulator,” said Phil Duczyminski, a subject matter specialist for FAAC, a firefighting simulation company. “It allows a student to make mistakes and understand what they did wrong without destroying the equipment.”

That damage to the equipment is a big selling point for the simulators as well.

“If you were to take a student out on a regular fire engine pumper and go through all the training procedures, you would end up with a lot of damage and wear on a pretty expensive vehicle,” said Duczyminski. “You waste thousands of gallons of water as well. You can pause them when they mess up on a simulator and reset them, and make sure they understand where they went wrong.”

The pump operator on a fire engine controls the water pressure traveling through the firehose. With fluctuating water pressure, this can be a complicated process.

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