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Soto Cano firefighters provide training to Honduran counterparts

Master Sgt. Chris Raynor, Joint Task Force Bravo Fire Department assistant chief of operations, instructs a local Honduran firefighter on how to extinguish a fire in the base's burn building May 19, 2007.  U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

Master Sgt. Chris Raynor, Joint Task Force Bravo Fire Department assistant chief of operations, instructs a local Honduran firefighter on how to extinguish a fire in the base's burn building May 19, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

Octavio Galvez, left, and Jayro Rodriguez prepare their equipment prior to entering the burn house during firefighting training with members of the Joint Task Force Bravo fire department May 19, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

Octavio Galvez, left, and Jayro Rodriguez prepare their equipment prior to entering the burn house during firefighting training with members of the Joint Task Force-Bravo fire department May 19, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

(Left), Mr. Herbert Gaekel, a Honduran fire inspector,  gives instructions to a Honduran firefighter prior to entering the burn building during a training exercisea at Soto Cano Air Base May 19, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

(Left), Mr. Herbert Gaekel, a Honduran fire inspector, gives instructions to a Honduran firefighter prior to entering the burn building during a training exercisea at Soto Cano Air Base May 19, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shaun Emery

SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Culminating a week-long joint training session with the Soto Cano fire department, local Honduran firefighters geared up, and put water to flame to perfect the lessons they learned.

Firefighters from Tegucigalpa, Comayagua and the Honduran air force were instructed on techniques such as land navigation, wild land firefighting and extinguishing structural fires.

During land navigation training, the Hondurans learned about GPS positions, map reading and transgressing terrain, said Senior Master Sgt. Gerald Johnson, Soto Cano Fire Department chief.

Teams of six firefighters cleared a three-foot wide path called a fire break. Each team member used a different tool and worked together to complete the task. According to Sergeant Johnson there aren't many natural barriers or roads here that help prevent a fire from spreading, so the teams dug down until there was no combustible materials left in the soil.

"Wild land firefighting is some to the roughest firefighting you can do," said Master Sgt. Chris Raynor, Soto Cano Fire Department assistant chief of operations. "But they worked as a cohesive team and did a great job."

The final day of training put the Honduran firefighters face to face with the flame, battling a blaze in the Soto Cano Air Base burn house. The burn house offers firefighters a chance to simulate entering a building and battling a fire. Teams of four carefully moved through the building and extinguished the flames.

"The training went great," said Sergeant Johnson. "They showed great enthusiasm and a desire to learn. They were able to use tools they don't normally have a chance to work with."

Dany Moradiaga, a Honduran working for the Soto Cano Fire Department also thought the training was excellent. He said it was especially important for the local firefighters to use new tools and learn new skills.

"Training like this builds camaraderie," said Sergeant Johnson. "Sharing our knowledge and techniques is an extremely important part of our mission here at Soto Cano."

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