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Army February 28, 2013
MOST training establish-
ments specialise in one
field, but the RAAF
Security and Fire School
runs courses in a range of critical
base support skills for the Army
and Air Force.
The purpose-built training facil-
ity at RAAF Base Amberley, which
opened in November 2011, deliv-
ers 54 different trade and employ-
ment courses for ground defence,
security police, military working dog
handlers, airfield engineers and fire
About 500 students have complet-
ed training at RAAFSFS in the past
Airfield engineer courses train
site foremen, electricians, plumbers,
carpenters and plant operators.
RAAFSFS is also home to the
ADF's only military working dog
breeding program which, in conjunc-
tion with a procurement program,
develops dogs from puppies through
to young adult dogs ready for team-
ing with a handler on course.
CO RAAFSFS Wg-Cmdr Antony
Houghton is a communications
electronics engineer by trade and
spent 20 years with the RAF, which
included service in Northern Ireland,
Bosnia and the Middle East before he
joined the RAAF in 2004.
On his last deployment he was
Commander FCU 4 in the MEAO.
Wg-Cmdr Houghton says living
behind a defended wire with armed
guards in the UK and overseas for
such a long time has given him a
strong sense of force protection.
"It's fantastic to have so many of
the key force protection trades in one
school," he says.
"We have been able to rationalise
our common areas of training and
teach them in one place, which will
save money for Defence and allow
us to work with greater synergy on
Posted to RAAFSFS as a dog
handler instructor, Army Cpl Bevan
McKew was previously an instructor
at the Defence Police Training Centre
in Holsworthy and said one of his
roles was to observe the Air Force
"Looking to the future of service
police and military working dogs in
Army and RAAF, we need to ensure
we are training to our best capability
for the benefit of the whole ADF,"
"I enjoy the challenge of instruct-
ing dog handlers.
"The dogs are a massive force
multiplier as has been proven on
overseas operations with their use by
engineers and Special Forces."
The RAAFSFS basic firefighting
course is 22 weeks of physically and
mentally demanding training.
When qualified, Army and Air
Force members can rapidly respond
to incidents of fires, road accidents,
hazardous materials, bushfires and
They also adapt their future train-
ing for the needs of their particular
base or unit.
Sgt Gavin Costello is an instructor
at the Fire Training Flight and says
one of the challenges at the school is
trying to instil fire fighting science
into the students' minds.
"We deal with a lot of different
tools and agents to extinguish the
various types of fires and if it is done
wrong, someone's life could be on the
line," he says.
"The best thing about this career
is the variety of the work we do and
the challenges we face as we are only
really called when everyone else's
day turns bad.
"The facilities and training tech-
niques at the school are very modern
and we are teaching the most up-to-
Gas-operated fire simulators at the
RAAFSFS include a passenger air-
craft, a fighter jet and a multi-storey
building, which are all controlled by
computers and software from the sim-
ulator control office to give the train-
ees a realistic training environment.
School covers all its bases
Specialist firefighters, tradespeople and dog handlers learn their skills
at the RAAF Security and Fire School, Cpl Mark Doran reports.
Ruff job: Dog handler instructor Cpl Bevan McKew trains Justice, an Air
Force-bred Malanois military working dog, at the RAAF Security and Fire
School at RAAF Base Amberley.
Photo by Cpl Mark Doran
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