Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Raven Rock Fire and Emergency Services

This RRMC fire station opened in August 2005

Site R was built deep underground back in the early 1950s to protect its systems and occupants from atomic annihilation. But the biggest danger to this and all underground bunkers is fire. Sometimes the job postings for Raven Rock casually mention this very real possibility:
"Because of the great likelihood of a major smoke event and total darkness during a fire, selectee must maintain a flashlight and also be issued and trained to use an emergency escape breathing apparatus."
Evacuation routes are clearly marked by fire exit signs and fluorescent arrows are posted on the baseboards in hallways to show the direction of the exits.

Fire & Emergency Services is located inside the underground facility in Room 1-B-18 at the B Corridor Inner Roadway.

According to an OPM database, there are 16 employees in the International Association Of Firefighters bargaining unit at RRMC.

There is a 2015 job listing for a HAZMAT firefighter whose duties include:

  • Control of hazardous substance using specialized protective clothing and control equipment to plug, patch or stop the release
  • Utilize hazard and risk assessment techniques to form an incident analysis by surveying the area, materials, containers, weather, research sources, and monitoring equipment
  • Inspect administration and office areas, warehouses, storage, assembly, industrial and other occupancies to look for life threatening and potentially hazardous violations

Crash 19 is a 2004 E-One 1500/1500/200 model

A 2014  job posting on USAJOBS for a Fire Protection Inspector lists these duties:
  • Serve as a member of the installation Hazardous Materials Response Team.
  • Inspect various types of structures, equipment and storage areas, repair shops, warehouses, fuel storage, welding areas, maintenance facilities, power generating plants, commercial kitchen, for life threatening and potentially hazardous violations. 
  • Attend construction planning meetings to advise on fire protection or detection issues.
  • Conduct briefings on fire prevention requirements, emergency egress procedures and fire extinguishers for installation personnel.

 Raven Rock Mountain Complex Fire & Emergency Services challenge coin

Another Raven Rock Firefighter Technician job posting describes some of the unique characteristics of working at this underground facility:
"Responds to emergencies involving fire, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, and other circumstances. Performs tasks to gain control of and extinguish fires, effect rescue operations, and maintain safety. 
While at the underground facility, personnel will be engaged in unusual and difficult situations. The hazards, limitations, and special circumstances the Installation poses require skills and knowledge not encountered while working in conventional fire department operations. These conditions include work in confined spaces, large industrial power plants with large fuel storage facilities, high voltage electrical and communications equipment, and unventilated areas."

In October 2015, DOD Washington Headquarters Services posted an open continuous announcement for firefighter positions at the Raven Rock Mountain Complex. The announcement expires in October 2016. (archived listing)

Aerial view of the Site R fire station

FireHawk M7 air mask
Site R Firefighter Equipment

The FedBizOpps website lists some firefighter-related gear for Site R. According to a 2012 solicitation, Raven Rock maintains an inventory of over 60 sets of Globe G-XTREME® jackets and pants.

Another solicitation for Raven Rock references an order for 25 air masks (MSA FireHawk M7 SCBA)

The Site R fire department has the following trucks listed on its vehicle maintenance solicitation:

Raven Rock Mountain Complex's E-One D251 pumper tanker
The E-One webpage announcing the delivery of the above truck to the Raven Rock Mountain Complex can be viewed here.

Smoke Containment System

In 2008, as part of the Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program (PENREN), a  life safety needs assessment identified the requirement for a more effective means of smoke management in the underground facility. Their original budget was $9.8 million to replace a manual smoke control system that involved shutting down the toilet exhaust fans and closing the associated dampers;  then reopening the dampers and restarting the exhaust fans.

Contractors were required to "design, construct, furnish and install, test and demonstrate functional operation of a Smoke Management System to limit the spread of fire gasses and resulting soot into areas of egress, corridors, elevators, stairwells, for Buildings A, B, C, D, E, and the Inner Roadway".

The new smoke management system can be activated automatically during the early stages of a fire and was to be designed to interface with the facility's Notifier fire alarm system and HSQ Technology SCADA system. The project was completed in FY 2012. Final budget numbers are listed below.

DOD Revolving Funds Justification

Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Raven Rock firefighters are represented by the International Association of Firefighters Local F-301. Their Collective Bargaining Agreement describes the working conditions for the firefighters at Site R including tours of duty, annual leave, living quarters, etc.

Mutual Aid MOA with Frederick County

The Raven Rock Mountain Complex and Frederick County in Maryland signed a mutual aid agreement whereby either party could request the aid of the other party during an emergency. Read the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement for more information on this.

Fire station photo- The Renovation of the Pentagon (
Aerial view of fire station - Google Maps
Pumper photo - E-One
Job listings -
Solicitations -
FireHawk air mask photo - MSA
Budget for Smoke Containment System - DOD Revolving Funds Justification
Smoke Containment System - solicitation
Collective Bargaining Agreement - Public Intelligence
RRMC - Frederick County MOA - Frederick County government
Crash 19 - photo credit Patrick Shap, Jr.

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