An airport is a busy place, with the planes and people coming and going, traffic in and out, what happens when there is an incident that involves chemicals, fire, or danger? They call the fire department, just as we do, but it makes you wonder just how quickly they could respond to a call for help with all of the hustle and bustle of an average day. The airport has their seperate mini fire department. These firefighters are called aviation firefighters. Their training is the same on the first aid level, but there are some major differences that show themselves if you have ever gotten a first hand look at some of these aviation firefighters in action. Even some of the first aid/medical training is different, as far as working under certain conditions, and treating different kinds of wounds. By taking an up close and personal look at these firefighters, we will understand a little more of what their jobs entail and how different they are.
First we will take a look at what tasks are sometimes required of them. A large number of plane crises occur over water, which results in a crash, and when the aviation firefighters are called, they must have the ability to aid in the situation, quickly and responsibly. By use of mobile vehicles as well as watercraft, they aid in the evacuation of people under life threatening conditions. They must have the ability to remain calm, while making immediate decisions in the best interest of each situation. Their knowledge and skills of first aid are far above basic, and they are required to maintain proper certification and current knowledge during the length of their jobs. Most of the equipment they use is concurrent with standard firefighting equipment, as well as using some tools and chemicals that are for more advanced fires and situations. An understanding of and an ability to use a wide variety of equipment is mandatory. Along with the usual hoses are foam sprayers, and complex monitors and machines. As well as having the skills to use the equipment, they must be knowledgeable on the maintenance and care needed to keep all fire vehicles, working equipment, including hoses, in top form.
Along with saving people and putting out fires, these special firefighters must keep in mind the necessity of protecting the environment as well. They are educated on how to do so, and what course of action would best suit the current conditions at the site of the emergency. Suffice it to say, not only do they save lives, but also the earth. During the rush and routine of the airports activity, these firefighters are manning the Fire Control Center at each respective airport. They are the ones that maintain safety rules and regulations are being adhered to, while keeping flight take offs and landings as safe as possible. They observe the arrivals and departures of all incoming and outgoing aircraft, to make sure safety is being kept in mind. Another duty for them is the conduction of inspections concerning fire safety and inspections of all fire alarms within the airport. At any time, most airports are teeming with activity, and these firefighters have their hands full. They are responsible for educating the airport employees on any changes that are made to fire safety routines or practices, and must conduct fire drills periodically to ensure everyone is capable of acting in the event of an emergency.
Some of their physical requirements are, of course, being physically fit, able to dive with underwater breathing apparatus, as well as swim. The physical requirements are quite intense, due to the nature of the job and the type of crises that are expected to occur. To find out more about your local aviation firefighters, contact your local fire department, or your local airport. To know them is to appreciate them since they bring more meaning to the phrase, "flying friendly skies".