A Fire of Firsts

11/04/2014-Story by MC2 Luke Meineke, CNREURAFSWA Public Affairs
Photos by Lt. Cmdr. Juli Strieter, NSF Deveselu Assistant Public Works Officer

Naval Support Facility (NSF) Deveselu has wasted no time challenging and training its personnel to be battle ready despite holding its official establishment ceremony just last month, marking it as the first Navy base to be established in more than 20 years.

Members from a contracted fire engine company operating on base, the 99th Romanian Military Base fire station, the Caracal Fire Department (CFD), NSF Deveselu’s Interim Security Force, a contracted doctor, the 99th Romanian Military Base medic, and command and control staff all participated in a multi-lateral fire drill Tuesday, October 21.

“This is the first exercise under NSF Deveselu,” said Cmdr. Rod Tribble, NSF Deveselu’s executive officer. “It was the first to use the CFD, the first to set a security perimeter using U.S. Navy security forces and the first to demonstrate the emergency call. It was the first to include the treatment and care of injuries at the scene and the first to use the Romanian CFD as the incident commander.” 

At 12:40 Tuesday a controlled fire was set in the former Romanian Air Force Training and Alert facility just outside NSF Deveselu’s perimeter beginning the drill. Upon seeing smoke, an emergency call went to Navy firefighters. The contracted engine company, comprised of a Fire Chief and a four firefighter Engine Crew, act as first responders for fire or other emergency conditions. After responding, the contracted firefighters determined that the fire was beyond their capabilities to contain. Under the Mutual Aid Agreement – a proposed agreement between NSF Deveselu, the 99th Romanian Military Base, and the CFD that would provide emergency first responders with aid via outside agencies – the contracted firefighters called the 99th Romanian Military Base fire company for support to combat the fire. The 99th Romanian Military Base fire company then called for further assistance from the CFD.

The CFD, located approximately eight kilometers, or nearly five miles, away, was on site in less than 10 minutes. Given their required response time of 12 minutes, Tribble said this was one of the numerous volutions of the drill that went well.

As the CFD, 99th Romanian Military Base fire company, and the contracted firefighters drilled in tandem to combat, contain and eventually extinguish the fire, an Incident Command Structure was exercised to coordinate and control activities maximizing the ability of all involved to save lives and protect property. One of the key facilities the command structure provides is to overcome any language barriers potentially found between the Romanian-speaking and English-speaking responders.

While the fire was combated, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on-scene doctor, Dr. Nacalita Barbu, and the 99th Romanian Military Medical Assistant, Iulia Elena Budibala, responded to a simulated casualty.

Barbu, who is trained as an Advance Cardio Life Support specialist, and Budibala treated a Sailor for multiple trauma injuries and smoke inhalation.

As the first effort to collectively respond to an emergency on NSF Develelu, Tribble said the drill was a “phenomenal success”. “The positive takeaways include the rapid response to and effective coordination of the scene despite the language barriers,” Tribble said. “It was a very good event that demonstrates that U.S., Romanian Military, and Caracal Fire can respond effectively to a fire on station. It sets the starting point from which we can work together on improving.”

“It was a very good exercise and we learned a lot about our ability to collectively respond to an emergency on base,” said Wilson Anthony Velez, NSF Deveselu’s contracted Fire Chief. “I look forward to future exercises to continually improve our ability to respond to an emergency.”

NSF Deveselu is the first of two Aegis Ashore System installations to be established in central Europe. Acting as part of NATO’s overall ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, NSF Deveselu is slated to be operation in December 2015.

Release date

Tuesday, November 4, 2014