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52nd CES Fire Department sparks interest in high school student

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Live-fire exercises help firefighters learn how to extinguish engine or fuel pool fires. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Live-fire exercises help firefighters learn how to extinguish engine or fuel pool fires. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Andreas Willems, driver operator, front, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jonathan Hyslop, firefighter, middle, and Matthias Huewels, crew chief, back, all assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Live-burn exercises give firefighters the opportunity to practice techniques they learn in the classroom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Andreas Willems, driver operator, front, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jonathan Hyslop, firefighter, middle, and Matthias Huewels, crew chief, back, all assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Live-burn exercises give firefighters the opportunity to practice techniques they learn in the classroom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, dons fire-protection gear at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan, who plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force as a firefighter, participated in exercises with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department as part of the school's Career Practicum program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, dons fire-protection gear at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan, who plans to enlist in the U.S. Air Force as a firefighter, participated in exercises with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department as part of the school's Career Practicum program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, holds a fire hose at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan and a team of firefighters extinguished a propane-fueled simulated aircraft fire as part of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department's required training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, holds a fire hose at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan and a team of firefighters extinguished a propane-fueled simulated aircraft fire as part of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department's required training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Broussard, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention NCO in charge, left, and Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, right, conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. A metal trainer aircraft was used to simulate a real incident scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Broussard, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention NCO in charge, left, and Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, right, conduct live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. A metal trainer aircraft was used to simulate a real incident scenario. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, looks back to his partner for guidance during a live-fire simulated aircraft burn exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. The exercise was Moylan's first experience extinguishing a live fire. He has been training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department for two months and plans to continue until he graduates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, looks back to his partner for guidance during a live-fire simulated aircraft burn exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. The exercise was Moylan's first experience extinguishing a live fire. He has been training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department for two months and plans to continue until he graduates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Broussard, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention NCO in charge, left, briefs firefighters before a vehicle extrication exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. This training helps firefighters learn how to effectively remove a victim out of a car that has been in an incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Broussard, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention NCO in charge, left, briefs firefighters before a vehicle extrication exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. This training helps firefighters learn how to effectively remove a victim out of a car that has been in an incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, finishes live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan conducted the training as part of the school's Career Practicum program, which allows seniors to work in their desired career field to gain real-world experience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, finishes live-fire aircraft burn training at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan conducted the training as part of the school's Career Practicum program, which allows seniors to work in their desired career field to gain real-world experience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, cuts through a windshield at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan, who plans on becoming a firefighter, participated in vehicle extrication training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department to gain real-life experience in his desired career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, cuts through a windshield at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan, who plans on becoming a firefighter, participated in vehicle extrication training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department to gain real-life experience in his desired career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, uses high-pressure hydraulic equipment to cut through posts on a car at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan participated in vehicle extrication training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department to learn how to quickly remove a person under medical distress from a car. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)
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Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, uses high-pressure hydraulic equipment to cut through posts on a car at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Moylan participated in vehicle extrication training with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department to learn how to quickly remove a person under medical distress from a car. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

U.S. Air Force firefighters assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron conclude a vehicle extrication exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Airmen cut through car glass and posts to simulate how to remove a patient from a car that has been in an incident. The exercise was part of the 52nd CES Fire Department's required training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)
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U.S. Air Force firefighters assigned to the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron conclude a vehicle extrication exercise at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2019. Airmen cut through car glass and posts to simulate how to remove a patient from a car that has been in an incident. The exercise was part of the 52nd CES Fire Department's required training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

“Just looking at a fire right in the face, it was right there, no further than a foot away from me. I’m just standing there, being told what to do, having to react,” reminisced one high school student here.

Omar Moylan, a senior at Spangdahlem High School, trained on his first live-fire exercise with the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department March 26, 2019, here, as part of the school’s Career Practicum program.

“I want to go into the Air Force as a firefighter,” said Moylan, who has been training with the department for two months. “It’s something that just interests me.”

The department conducted a live-fire aircraft burn exercise in the morning and concluded with vehicle extrication as part of their required training.

Live-fire exercises help firefighters learn how to extinguish engine or fuel pool fires, said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Broussard, 52nd CES fire prevention NCO in charge.

“It’s one thing to train in the classroom or even outside, but when you actually see the aircraft and that fire, you apply some of those techniques we get to train with,” Broussard said.

A metal trainer aircraft lit by propane was used to simulate the fire. This allowed the firefighters to practice multiple strategies to put it out.

Moylan’s participation confirmed his desire to be a firefighter.

“When I was doing that,” Moylan said, “I was like, this is what I want to do. This is what I want to be.”

After the live-burn training, Moylan and a team of firefighters used high-pressure hydraulic equipment to conduct vehicle extrication training.

“We were using some very powerful tools to cut a car apart in a way that would not harm a patient inside,” Broussard said. “The point of that is for us to move quickly and effectively get a victim out of a car that’s been in an accident, or maybe having some kind of medical distress.”

This was the first time a student has trained to this extent with the fire department, said Broussard, who is Moylan’s main trainer.

“We had the privilege of having Omar come out,” Broussard said. “It was good to see how easily he was able to just fit right in that schedule. Once we started rolling, you could not tell who was someone assigned here and where Omar was. All the training he and I have accomplished in the last two months has really paid off.”

Moylan used the opportunity to learn from the fire team.

“I learned from an Airman today to stay calm and collected when you’re in there,” Moylan said. “Don’t freak out. Stay cool under pressure.”

Not everyone gets the chance to experience real firefighter training.

“Omar was out there using the same tools that a normal firefighter would use.” Broussard said. “We don’t really let many people do that. It was a very unique thing for him to get that experience.”

Moylan’s participation was part of the school’s program, which is designed to provide school-to-career experiences and training for students through a work practicum related to their career goal.

“I have not heard of a program quite like Spangdahlem has,” Broussard said. “We’ll do job shadows for a day and have students come out, see our trucks and put gear on, but this program is definitely a unique thing.”

Besides training as a firefighter, the program allows students to work at jobsites including a salon, veterinary clinic, the 52nd Medical Group, the air traffic control tower, and other locations on base, said Kathy Campbell, Spangdahlem High School Career Practicum Technology teacher.

“We have gone from having 12 students at the beginning of this year to more than 20 who are signed up next year,” Campbell said.

This is the first year the program has been developed to this extent here.

Besides obtaining life experience, participating seniors earn credit towards graduation, Campbell said.

“I wish this was something available when I was in high school,” Broussard said. “I think Spangdahlem is on to something with this. It’s definitely preparing seniors on the verge of graduating for a career in whatever they may want to do.”

Moylan, who will continue training with the fire department until he graduates this spring, said he feels he now has an advantage when he enlists into the Air Force as a firefighter.

“How many kids go out there with their local fire department and put out fires with them?” Moylan said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”