Afghan National Army leadership cuts the ribbon at the Kabul Central Fire Station, officially opening the station during a ceremony and fire-fighting demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 6.
KABUL, Afghanistan – (June 6, 2012) The Kabul Central Fire Station officially opened for business following a ribbon-cutting ceremony and fire-fighting demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 6.
The station currently functions as a cross-ministry response for both the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Ministry of Interior (MoI), as well as the city of Kabul due to the MoI's shortage of fire response resources.
"It is a big accomplishment for the Afghans, just seeing them develop, they're moving along,” said Thomas Mac, subject matter expert for MoD Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan Air Force (AAF), and Advisor to ANA Col. Qayom, Chief Fire director.
"I'm just happy to be part of the history, not many of us can say that you get to see a ribbon cutting at the Central Fire Station,” he added.
The station is the first to receive an air compressor for refilling self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air bottles, said Canadian Lt. Col. Timothy Radley.
"It is going to be big for the ANA-side because it is the first one in Afghanistan. MoI does not have this capability yet. They're willing to share because the fire service is all about sharing and they want to share whatever they have with MoI, they're going to be filling up MoI's bottles,” said Mac.
"Eventually every station is going to get one and they're going to be able to fill their own bottles and that's a big issue because for the last few decades they have been going into fires without breathing apparatus. They are very eager to learn how to operate this machine and sustain it themselves,” added Mac.
"Training is the number one priority for Col. Qayom,” said Mac. "We‘re working on a standard where they can be self sustained and Afghan led. Obviously, they can't take a U.S. standard, or a Canadian standard, or a European standard, we have to get one where they can be compliant and compatible with their customs and they can adapt and accept themselves.”
MoD utilizes mini-pumpers or "brush trucks” that have a carrying capacity between 250 to 500 gallons of water and larger Oshkosh T-1500 and T-3000 fire engines that have 1,500 and 3,000 gallon capacity respectively. Due to narrow and minimally maintained roads, mini-pumpers are used to gain access to fires where traditional engines cannot gain access.
There are currently 39 ANA/AAF fire stations throughout the country of Afghanistan.
NTM-A is a coalition of 38 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country's security by 2014.
Story and photos by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott A. Buchholz
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan Public Affairs