Kirtland AFB Fire Department selected as AF Large FD of the year

  • Published
  • By John Cochran
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

After being named the Air Force Global Strike Command Large Fire Department of the Year for 2020, the 377th Air Base Wing’s Fire Emergency Services Branch at Kirtland AFB has been selected as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Master Sgt. Ralph E. Sanborn Fire Department of the Year (Large Base) for 2020. The department will now compete against other service-level recipients in the large department category at the Department of Defense level.

Lt. Gen. Warren D. Berry, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering and force protection, announced the award March 8.

“These engineer firefighters were selected by a panel of their peers to compete at the highest levels within the Air Force Civil Engineer community. All of the winners and nominees represent the best of the CE community’s incredible talent and dedication,” he said.

Among the Kirtland AFB Fire Department’s achievements during the year:

  • Protected the Air Force’s sixth-largest base (52,000 acres), with a population of 23,000 and 25 major mission partners, 1,800 facilities, 1,000 houses and 34 ranges
  • Responded to 1,300 emergency calls with less than 1% loss to an $11 billion replacement plant (facilities) value
  • Supported the Albuquerque International Sunport, providing critical life-safety coverage for 195 aircraft, 224 daily flights, 3 million passengers and 60 tons of cargo, mitigating 58 incidents with no fire loss
  • First on scene at 263 incidents; saved three lives by providing critical treatment
  • Responded to multiple Covid-19 incidents; all patients protected/treated/transported, with no exposures
  • Battled 100-acre “Q Fire;” rapid action resulted in 95% containment within five hours and saved $225 million in replacement value; extinguishment efforts prevented fire advancement to local community of 1,000 homes
  • In mutual-aid response at plastic bale recycle center fire where local fire department lacked appropriate resources to extinguish the blaze, engaged fire for seven hours, applying 1,200 gallons of foam; saved the business
  • Aided Albuquerque Fire Rescue in transformer fire; Albuquerque Sunport was evacuated and suspended operations with no injuries

Kirtland AFB Installation Fire Chief Jaime Jimenez put the recognition in perspective.

“I like to think we were selected because we have incredible firefighters who are dedicated to our unique mission. Being a retired chief master sergeant, and having worked in fire protection all over the world for the past 44 years, Kirtland Fire & Emergency Services is the best department I have ever been associated with. COVID-19 has been a tremendous challenge for us, as it has been for everyone, and the firefighters assigned here have made all the difference in the success of our mission.”