Aircraft Rescue and Structural Fire Departments

On a cold February night, a passenger plane crashed into a Buffalo, NY, neighborhood, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. In another incident, a single-engine aircraft crashed in a heavily wooded area after flying in bad...


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Aircraft accident training tips

It may not be as difficult as you think to get access to good aircraft training, you just need to know where to look. There are some basic avenues that will provide great access to training.

1. Contact the nearest airport aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) station. This is where the experts are. ARFF stations should be eager to help out their neighbors and have the expertise to answer most of your questions. In Rochester, NY, the ARFF unit provides training sessions at the airport or will come to your station with a program to assist you in your training needs. The backgrounds of the ARFF personnel vary, and that usually means a great amount of experience and knowledge.

2. Formal ARFF training programs are available all over the country. These programs have been led by people with a great deal of experience in the aviation field. Programs, in some cases, can be tailored to a department’s specific needs. Basic ARFF and Advanced ARFF classes are offered in many venues in individual 40-hour classes. In most cases, you do not have to be an airport firefighter to train at these facilities. There are costs involved, but keep in mind the resource is there and the knowledge you gain is invaluable.

3. Look in your own backyard. If there is a general aviation airfield or a private airstrip in your area, that is a possible avenue for training. Contact a flight school, a private pilot or just look online under aviation or aircraft. Most pilots will be glad to show off their airplane and assist you in planning for an aircraft incident.

4. If there is a military aviation installation in your general area, an opportunity may also exist for training. The military is very interested in making sure that their personnel are well cared for in the event of an accident. The military will also train you on how to not cause further damage to their aircraft than necessary in the event of an accident. They have specialists who know their equipment and can train your personnel in door opening and removal, aircraft dangers and what not to do if you respond to a crash.

5. Training with neighboring fire departments. What do they have in their response areas that your department could train with? If a neighboring department has an airfield in its district, ask what they do in an emergency. Who do they call, what are their operations guidelines and mutual aid resources? Who provides their training?

Aircraft accidents can happen anytime and anywhere and preparation will let emergency responders successfully handle these situations. Would you be ready? Would you know what to do? Would you know what not to do? n