The 612 Airlift Squadron of the Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) completed a new edition of the Centam Smoke exercise at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, with the participation of 19 Honduran firefighters and five Costa Rican.
The Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experiences (Centam Smoke) exercise is generally held twice a year, but the 2020 editions were suspended due to the Pandemic.
With a small number of participants and maintaining strict safety protocols, such as the permanent use of masks, daily temperature checks and constant disinfection of equipment, the exercise was still able to provide an opportunity for all firefighters to work as a team while learning from their experiences.
“Centam Smoke has a long history of cooperation. Our team has conducted this exercise with partners from across Central America for nearly 15 years, strengthening our ties of friendship and our partnership,” said US Air Force Lt. Col. Gregory Roberts, JTF-Bravo deputy commander.
Complete training procedure
The training included drills in structural fires, vehicle extraction, aircraft fires, and a friendly competition challenge through an obstacle course to assess and test their physical conditions.
“We are carrying out an update of knowledge and learning from the common experiences of the countries that come to participate.
“Camaraderie is one of the most important aspects of this training. Our countries are much more united by the fact that we can meet and share those experiences, establish new friendships and cooperative ties. A multicultural experience is always a good thing,” said Captain Rolando Jiménez Gonzalez, a Costa Rican firefighter.
“I hope to contribute more experiences, more knowledge, and the best attitude and disposition to transmit them to my colleagues, so that the work is not only at an individual level but a group achievement”, the Tico concluded.
This exercise is physically demanding but extremely rewarding and generates a multiplier effect, as participants share the knowledge they have learned with their squads upon completion. The exercise was also designed to form and strengthen professional and personal bonds by creating environments where multinational firefighters face challenges and overcome obstacles together.
A pleasant experience
“It has been a pleasant experience to be able to share with the US firefighters and prepare us to better serve our beloved Honduras,” said Héctor Flores Carranza, a Honduran firefighter assigned to the Comayagua station, near the Soto Cano Air Base.
“They [No. 612 Airlift Squadron] are well prepared in logistics, they have the best equipment, their units are excellent and this is necessary in every fire department. The knowledge is extraordinary and makes me a better firefighter. I look forward to sharing it with my teammates and being prepared to handle any emergency in the best way possible. All the firefighters who have participated, both from Honduras and Costa Rica, have a good professional and personal experience”, Flores stated.