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lessons learned from such a unique fire


#1. Training — Training doesn’t always have to be expensive and take a lot of time. It can be as simple as running through scenarios with your team. This allowed us to adapt to a complex and unique fire safely and effectively. Each member should know how to properly use their equipment, and initial and continuation training should be provided. Training with community partners created a great relationship with Charlotte County’s fire department, so it was easy to pick up a phone and request an asset or develop a new tactic, technique or procedure.


#2. Develop core missions — There is not an endless supply of money, so develop your core missions based on your community’s needs. For us, the broad picture was public safety and public health that developed into our core missions of law enforcement, firefighting, overwater rescue, and mosquito control to fit the community we serve.


78 July/Aug 2020


#3. Conduct only those missions you are trained and equipped to do — You must understand that some missions will be outside the aircraft’s capabilities, and some will be beyond the pilot’s ability. It takes experienced, well-trained crews to complete complex missions.


#4. Always strive to do all that your aircraft and aircrews are capable of doing — If you provide a cost-effective solution, your agency may be more receptive than you may think. This may not happen overnight, but you need to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Take advantage of teaming with other county agencies, and don’t forget to use the grants that are available to you. Our firefighting tank was selected because it is a dual-purpose tank that can conduct mosquito control and firefighting operations, and we teamed with the fire department to secure a Firehouse Subs grant that equipped our AStar with a hook. Our AStar works almost as many fires as our Huey.


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