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News > Hanscom Fire Department named best small department in AFMC
Hanscom Fire Department named best small department in AFMC

Posted 3/14/2012   Updated 3/14/2012 Email story   Print story


by by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Foster
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

3/14/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Hanscom Fire Department has been selected as the Air Force Materiel Command's Small Fire Department of the Year for 2011.

The department will now compete in the same category among the major commands at the Air Force level. The winners at that competition will compete for honors across all levels of the Department of Defense.

"It's a recognition program that honors the Fire Service Program at small, medium and large bases," said Bob Hildreth, the Hanscom Fire Chief. "The package is put together recognizing accomplishments in several categories such as customer service, department-level awards, accreditation, firefighter health and wellness, as well as innovations or modernizations that we do to raise the quality of life and service of our department."

The Air Force level winners will be announced at the International Department of Defense Fire Chief Conference, which is scheduled for later this year.

"This is the fifth time we've won at the AFMC level in six years," Hildreth said. "But it gets even tougher at the Air Force level because there are so many great programs out there."

Hildreth said he doesn't look at it as a base award, but as a community win because of the support the fire department gives and receives from the surrounding townships.

"We have guys out there every day advocating for fire prevention and the great thing about the program is that it's obvious the community is listening," he said. "So we don't have the number of fires we could potentially have."

He explained that staying current with the practice of fighting fires is important for the entire department and that's one of the many reasons he's so grateful for the excellent support from the commanders and community.

The 46 assigned personnel work closely together to maintain motivation while continuing with the education value the community needs.

Hildreth believes that while they don't have large numbers when it comes to active fires and they're classified in the small base category, they have the capabilities and performance standards of a large base.

"We're a small base operation but we perform at the large base level," Hildreth said. "Although our numbers are just short of the large bases and we don't have any mission assigned aircraft, we do support a very active flightline."

A challenge that sets Hanscom apart from other bases is MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Although most bases do have their own unique structures and requirements, being responsible for the labs helps keep base firefighters on their toes and ready to tackle anything that may come up.

Whatever challenges may come up in the future for the department, the award is proof that Hanscom firefighters are some of the best in AFMC and they'll be ready to tackle whatever comes their way.

"It's certainly an honor to win the award at the command level because these guys work so hard," said Hildreth. "My hope is that, because they're so deserving, my guys will win at the higher level."

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