CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.—Resting its rubber paws in the spacious garage of Cannon’s fire department, a new fire predator awaits the call to action.
The Rosenbauer Panther firetruck is the newest addition to the CFD. The vehicle received its first test March 5.
“The purpose of the training this morning is to familiarize and orient all fire department personnel with the new and very innovative Rosenbauer Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Apparatus,” said Tech. Sgt. Bryan Tafoya, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron section chief. “The training provides an in-depth approach to teach all staff how to inspect, operate, and efficiently use the apparatus for aircraft and airfield oriented emergency response purposes.”
And there’s a lot to adapt to—the vehicle’s features are significantly different from those already in use. One of the stark contrasts to prior vehicles is its 700-horsepower engine: able to push 0-54 M.P.H. in less than 22 seconds, it’s much faster than normal firetrucks, according to Tafoya.
The rest of its differences may read like foreign language to non-motorheads: 6,950 liters of extinguishing medium capacity, 9,000 l/min pump output. The bottom line is that the vehicle will prove advantageous for firefighters in several areas.
“The apparatus is a very user-friendly update to other apparatuses that we have in the Fire & Emergency Services fleet,” Tafoya said. “The vehicle provides modern, digital-based systems that allow the optimal user control of all apparatus systems allowing for more efficient, safe, and effective use.”
In order to push these new additions to the test, firefighters took the hulking steel beast out of its cage and tested it on the flight line.
“The technology is a big difference,” said Airman 1st Class Chase Turan, 27 SOCES fire protection. “With this truck, you press one button and you’re already operating something. It’s a lot easier, everything’s labeled—it’s, as we would say, firefighter-proof.”
Whether they’re testing all the buttons, pushing the Panther’s speed and turning radius or enjoying the increased cabin space, each firefighter experienced the vehicle’s several new assets. For Turan, one particular aspect stands out.
“Personally, I’d say my favorite part about trying it today is the reach of the bumper water turrets,” Turan said.
The CFD is operated by over a dozen firefighters and are equipped with F&ES vehicles to provide rapid response to calls involving fires, medical emergencies and hazardous materials.
The Air Force operates with unusual materials in unique environments all over the world. Acting as the firefighters of the Air Force, fire protection specialists deal with everything from brush fires to burning rocket fuel and hazardous material fires. By modernizing fire departments with new vehicles and equipment, firefighters can continue protecting communities and staying relevant with their counterparts outside of the military.