Integrated Support Command Kodiak Fire Department claims two top Coast Guard awards

KODIAK, Alaska – Personnel from Coast Guard Integrated Support Command (ISC) Kodiak’s Fire Department will accept the awards for 2009 Coast Guard Fire Department of the Year and the Civilian Firefighter of the Year Award at a banquet Friday during the Annual Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Training Services Conference in Dallas.

The Kodiak-based ISC’s fire department was chosen based on their efforts over the last year. The team at the fire house responded to over 586 rescue, medical, and fire emergency calls. They organized 406 door-to-door fire prevention inspections at Coast Guard housing units and spent 2,400 hours conducting monthly inspections and performing maintenance on 667 fire extinguishers at five separate units.

“I think our prevention efforts are the reason that we’ve had so few fires during my 20 years here,” said Mike McDonnell, the ISC Kodiak Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief. “A fire in housing last winter was the first in six years and no one was injured.”

The crew also conducts CPR training with several base staff components and maintains all of the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) used aboard the homeported and visiting cutters to respond to fires and hazardous material spills. Personnel at the fire house concurrently maintained 100 percent of their state and national registry emergency medical technician certifications.

“We recently obtained some new aerial apparatus equipment that expands our response ability and my crew learned to use it and gained more advanced firefighting qualifications,” said McDonnell.

In addition to being named fire department of the year the ISC is also home to the Coast Guard’s civilian firefighter of the year, John Glaz.

Glaz played an integral part leading the operational readiness committee for the department’s new aerial apparatus. Glaz took it upon himself to earn professional board certifications as a driver of aerial apparatus, a hazardous materials technician, and recertification as an EMT III.

Glaz distinguished himself as an exceptional leader and skilled firefighter during emergency responses, all aspects of firefighting, training and hazardous material operations.

Integrated Support Command Kodiak, the largest Coast Guard base in the world, is home to a variety of commands including three cutters, an air station, an aids to navigation team and a host of support and logistics units.

The ISC Kodiak Fire Department is manned by 32 civilian personnel and utilizes aircraft response trucks, structural engines including a ladder truck and a heavy equipment vehicle. They provide response services to the base as well as the state commercial airport. Their efforts on behalf of the Coast Guard Air Station and the state commercial airport require them to be compliant with a number of special FAA regulations that are not expected of most civilian fire departments and the crew maintains a three minute response time.

“The duty here is demanding and we rarely hire apprentice firefighters,” said McDonnell. “Our team of men and women are extremely skilled and dedicated. I ask a lot of them and I am proud of each of them.”

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