The South Dakota Air National Guard in Sioux Falls continually trains for emergency situations. Thursday the National Guard invited emergency personnel to the Joe Foss air base to show others what kind of technology they are using. Some of the technology and equipment used is very advanced, similar to equipment seen in popular crime shows.
Radiation suits and detection equipment are on display inside a hanger at the National Guard Air Base. Most of the equipment is state of the art and from multiple locations around the world. Senior Master Sergeant Rick Larson says this technology varies from ways of detecting drugs to setting up lights for a possible late night emergency. He says technology in the military continues to advance every day.
"The technology impacts since 9/11 has been tremendous. Not only did that keystone event really drive a lot of new innovation but just the capabilities of microchips and standardization within the electronics community," Larson says.
Larson says the military can take simple pieces of technology and put them into complex situations. He says this is what makes all the hard work pay off.
"Things as simple as Bluetooth, which we take for granted to do things like beam a funny joke off your Iphone onto an android; we use to facilitate sharing of data at an emergency scene, so we’re take the practical and making it tactical," Larson says.
Larson says the National Guard wants to make themselves available to the cities emergency personnel in case of an unfortunate event. He says it makes sense for people to help each other towards keeping citizens safe.
Air Force Fire Engines also lined the National Guard Base in Sioux Falls on Thursday. The fire engines on display varied from engines specialized for house fires, to engines made specifically for an airline crash. Charlie Kludt is a Senior Firefighter and Station Captain with the Air Guard in Sioux Falls. He was giving rides to city crews in the Striker Fire Engine, which is made for putting out airline fires. He says the fire engine on display is the same one used a few years back.
"The crash that they had a couple years ago just west of the airfield, this was one of the trucks that responded to that. And when they got on scene they sprayed foam down the aircraft and it took between 10-15 seconds of spraying foam and they had the entire aircraft fire put out," Kludt says.
Kludt says this Striker Fire Engine can hold 15 hundred gallons of water along with the foam to help distinguish fires. Kludt says the hope is to never use this equipment but it’s better to be prepared for the worst then not being prepared at all. He says the fire engines are continually changing to become more advanced.