satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big, Green Machine: Midway Atoll's Fire Truck

from left to right: firefighters Keith, Dave B. and Dave G.
It takes a lot of people with different skills to support Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.  The Refuge is about 1200 miles northwest of Honolulu.  Some visitors and scientists arrive by ship, but most arrive by plane.  Which means the Atoll has an airport.  Which means it has an airport fire department.  Which means firemen Keith Castellano, Dave Buczek and Dave Gellert, Jr. are here.

Dave B. and Keith are recent arrivals on Midway, and they are proud and happy to be helping the Refuge.  Dave B. started work at his hometown Bullhead City, Arizona airport as an aircraft fueler.  He was selected for more training and became an airport fireman.   

When Keith was 8 years old growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico he loved tires; the bigger, the better.  He wanted to have a job with tires, but one day something happened that changed his mind.  Keith had an uncle whose house caught fire.  How wonderful that another uncle was a firefighter and came with the town’s fire crew to put out the first uncle’s fire.  No wonder Keith grew up to become a fireman! 

Dave G., Keith and Dave B.
Now the 2 Daves and Keith work in Midway airport’s fire department.  Look at their huge airport fire engine.  The guys look short, standing next to the 12-foot tall Oshkosh Striker fire truck!  Their tools have been made especially for airplane fire rescue.  Remember: Midway Atoll is in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, far away from anybody else.  These men have the best truck and equipment to be able to handle airport emergencies all by themselves.

Come with Dave B., Keith and me as we perform a daily check with the Striker.  Dave will sit in the driver's seat, while Keith is outside to take some pictures.  Dave and I test the heat-detecting camera, and there’s Keith on the monitor.

This photo, the one on the left, and the one below are by Keith.
In the left-hand picture you can see the Striker's two turrets, or high-powered water hoses.  One is on top of the truck, and the other is at the center of the truck's front.  These turrets can really shoot out water; great fire-fighting!

photo by Keith

The Striker accompanies planes as they taxi down the runway.  If there's an emergency the fire truck is right there.

Say, look how big those truck tires are.  For scale, we put a can of soda on top of one tire.  Keith is lucky: he's a fire fighter and he gets to work with one of his favorite things: tires!

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