BOISE, Idaho – More than 60 Idaho national guards completed a wildfire firefighting training in Boise in June, bringing the total number of security personnel available to help the Idaho area when the governor declared a state of emergency.
“National Defense Appeal is serving the state and there is really no better way to do that,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Vinselli, director of Idaho National Protection’s Joint Planning and Training Plan.
The four-day certification course is usually offered in June and is commonly known as the Red Card Certificate for Qualified Soldiers and Airmen.
The Idaho National Guard began certifying Citizens-Soldiers and Citizens-Airmen by 2020.
The training and preparation were put to good use. In August 2021, Idaho Gov Brad Little issued an emergency declaration authorizing Idaho National Guard firefighters and helicopters to help fight wildlife in the state.
In front of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, 18 security guards volunteered to put out more than 200,000 gallons of water in several fires. In Coeur d’Alene, about a dozen guards assisted with logistics and operations.
With the current state of staff for the Idaho Land Department and the U.S. Forest Service, he expects the Idaho National Guard to be called back this summer if wildlife firefighters deplete state and federal resources. Idaho guards can volunteer to serve in other states if they are not needed in Adaho.
Idaho National Guard has created deep firefighters to ensure that it is ready to respond to any call for help. Soldiers and Airmen volunteer to serve on missions and often have a commitment to the caretaker service, ”said Winsley.
The Idaho Land Division, the Idaho Emergency Management Bureau, and the Idaho National Guard formed a partnership a few years ago through a joint force agreement, outlining the process under the auspices of the Inter-Agency. The agreement was amended based on lessons learned from last year’s fire.
To obtain their red card, guards must complete two online entry courses and attend a 32-hour basic fire protection and wild land fire course. They are also required to complete a 3-mile trek in less than 45 minutes with a 45-pound package.
Firefighters at the IDL and Orchard Combat Training Center taught the course.
Individuals must re-verify each year to continue their red card verification. Guards may be hired by the red card as firefighters.
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