“Identify major and minor physical or demographic changes in your community that will require a change in the way your agency carries out its duties. Estimate how much resistance there would be to the changes needed and what can be done to overcome that resistance.
Beale Air Force Base recently went through a significant aircraft realignment that fundamentally changed everything. Before this transition, the installation housed several smaller aircraft that are primarily used for reconnaissance and training purposes. The reconnaissance aircraft consisted of the MC-12 Liberty, the U-2 Dragon Lady, and the unmanned variant RQ-4 Global Hawk. And the aircraft used for strictly for training purposes is the T-38 Talon and the dual-seated TU-2 Dragon Lady.
After the realignment, the installation celebrated the arrival of the KC-135 Stratotanker, which is a large-frame aircraft capable of carrying up to 33,000 gallons of jet fuel (AF.mil, 2018). However, it is not the amount of fuel the KC-135 can carry, but rather the amount of water required to extinguish a fire on this particular aircraft. The minimum amount of water needed is based on the size and type of the aircraft, which for the smaller (Set-1) reconnaissance and training aircraft is 1,340 gallons. Consequently, the addition of the KC-135 aircraft (Set-4) would now increase the minimum requirement to 7,780 gallons of water.
The increased water requirements that were necessary to accommodate the KC-135 would force some significant changes to our emergency vehicle fleet. Our first Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle carries 3,300 gallons of water, while our secondary ARFF vehicle only carries 1,500 gallons. Being able only to deliver 4,800 gallons was going to leave the department almost 3,000 gallons short of the minimum required to extinguish a fire on a KC-135. This deficiency would force the department to quickly find a suitable vehicle that could meet or exceed minimum water requirements, which fortunately was another 3,300-gallon ARFF vehicle.
There were also staffing requirements necessary to operate this additional ARFF vehicle, as well as to meet the optimum level of service required for the sizeable KC-135 aircraft. Supporting the smaller (Set-1) aircraft allowed the department to operate with eleven firefighters on duty effectively. However, supporting the larger (Set-4) aircraft now forced the department to run with a total of thirteen firefighters on duty. This increase in staffing was no easy task, as our department was already operating with smaller numbers due to the manning allotted to us from the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC), which was based on our previously assigned aircraft set. Fortunately, over some time, our department now has the vehicles and staffing to needed to support this aircraft properly.
AF.mil. (2018, May 14). KC-135 stratotanker. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/1529736/kc-135-stratotanker/
This weeks topic is interesting, I’m going to talk about the demographic change in the community. I experience this first hand when I came to Japan. I was used to working with Americans only in the United States and I came to Japan I was the foreigner who had to learn Japanese and learn how to communicate in Japanese. I can see how the Japanese fire fighters worked and operated by just watching them do their normal day tasks. They speak some English as it is required in Japan that all the citizens now speak some English and it is taught in the schools but that is not always the case with the older generations. The Japanese fire fighters has lots of patience and in the event of an emergency they don’t have time to teach me or show me how to do stuff. They let us know right away to basically get out of their way and over time we can learn how to work together. I was shocked at first but then I realized I will be just getting in their way or taking up time when they can be dealing with the emergency. Over time I have learn to communicate better and learn how to work next to them so I can be helpful instead of being in the way. If I where still in the states and the tables where turn where I will be dealing with foreigners I will take my time with them and teach them as we go but in the emergency situations they will have to sit back and watch until we can build a good working relationship where no one will be in danger. The community change is happening all the time but we have to have good communication to work together.