VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday was the sixth annual “Feel the Heat” event at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna.
The event is designed to show the public the work that the base’s fire rescue and safety teams do every day.
Each October, the 910th Airlift Wing based at YARS and the Lake to River Chapter of the American Red Cross put on the event.
“It’s our opportunity to work with our amazing 910th Airlift Wing and do a pretend exercise where we simulate that a plane has come down,” said Karen Conklin, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.
Members of the community are invited onto the base to see how air force personnel tackle live-saving missions, such as rescuing victims from a plane crash or freeing victims trapped in vehicles.
For base personnel, it gives them another opportunity to sharpen their skills in the event of a crisis on base.
“It’s paramount, our training. We train the way we’re going to perform and we perform the way we train,” said Chief John Lewis, 910th Civil Engineer Fire Department.
For the Red Cross, it’s a reminder to the community about how well they work with first responders in the case of an emergency.
“Every disaster, no matter what the disaster is, you’re always going to have military personnel, police, fire and the American Red Cross,” Conklin said.
The Air Reserve personnel feel pride in serving the Trumbull County community and are humbled by their gratitude.
“We go into these businesses around here and they see ‘Fire Department,’ and they’re like, ‘Hey man, thank you for what you do,'” Lewis said.
Members of the Civil Engineer Fire Department on base hope the young people in attendance are inspired to fill open first responder roles in the community.
“We need to encourage these young kids to come out and join fire departments, support their community. I know Howland is having problems with them. I know all these local departments are having problems filling positions,” Lewis said.
The fire rescue team at YARS is the second-largest such unit in Trumbull County, next to the City of Warren.