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What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?  
User currently offline22right From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 420 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10812 times:

I was just wondering...

Do most major airports have a dedicated fire crew on the premises all of the time? If so, what do these people do all day and night? I mean I can understand their indispensable need in case of that emergency that can strike at any moment. But lets face it, those emergencies are (fortunately) very very rare. So do they have any other duties at all, besides giving water cannon salutes on occasions such as pilot retiring, inaugural flights, etc.  Wink/being sarcastic

I bet it would get real boring in a few days, even if you are around airplanes all day.

Any comments?

"I never apologize! I am sorry, but that's the way it is!" - Homer Simpson
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineRareBear From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 553 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10635 times:

They train, they practice, they work on/repair equipment, they study, they cook, they eat, then they train and practice some more. Time goes by quickly.

Illegitimus non carborundum
User currently offlineCopter808 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1245 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10606 times:

I'm sure that considerable time is spent in training and housekeeping details. Keep in mind however, they respond to things other than crashes.

ORD sees the ambulance/paramedic responding to numerous calls involving passengers and employees.

The crash rescue equipment responds to fuel spills involving equipment failure or overfilling the fuel tanks, emergency landings, several landings where the flight crew want the equipment standing by, as well as a list of other things.

They don't get to respond to a crash very often, but at a major airport, there is plenty to do.

User currently offlineFinnWings From Finland, joined Oct 2003, 640 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10586 times:

They have also some smaller "emergencies" quite often... It isn't so rare that there is some oil or Jet A1 on the apron which must be removed. Also false alarms from automatic fire detectors cause some extra work for the fire crews. They also take care that there isn't too much birds near the runways as those could be hazardous for aircrafts.

Fire crews are very important and well trained people. I really respect their work at the airport (and elsewhere)... Good to know that there is always professional staff taking care of any kind of emergencies which might occur.


User currently offlineFRASYD From Germany, joined Mar 2004, 176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10551 times:

Well, it is certainly true that at some (smaller) airports there is not that much to do for them. But most of these guys are real freaks concerning sports. In SYD I often saw them running around their fire house... besides as you stated above:

- A lot of maintenance and testing of the equipment
- In some airports like HHN a lot of control for refuelling when Pax are still onboard
- A lot of response to false fire alarms in the terminal
- dry up fuel spills
-practice at the training facilities
-give tours to school groups
-watch out during engine run ups

etc etc

User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10547 times:

Those trucks are prowling around a lot more then one would imagine.
I have always seen a fire truck or emergency vehicle driving around ORD.
Sometimes they just drive around instead of stay in the firehouse. The crew at ORD is always doing something. They are ready.

If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineBirdy92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10522 times:

At some of the smaller airports, ATW for example, they are the first response department for Greenville, WI (the town that ATW is actually in), since the Greenville dept. is a volunteer department.

User currently offline7E7Fan From Sweden, joined May 2004, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10496 times:

At Stockholm Arlanda (ESSA) they are mostly made up by young guys doing their "military service" there instead of in the armed services. My brother used to be a fire fighter at Arlanda and from what he told me there was a lot of training and studying.

From the alarm bell going off until they had to be on site and commenced putting out the fire they only had 90 seconds, day and night, no matter where on the airport grounds the fire was. The idea was that the fire would be out in less than 120 seconds in case there was one. But getting those big trucks and all the equipment there in such a short time and yet keep from colliding with any other aircraft or buildings takes quite a lot of training.

Then they also had to study all the different aircraft types that service Arlanda. So that they know how many emergency exits there are and where they're located. How many passengers would it be able to carry at typical configurations is good to know in an emergency evac situation for instance, especially since it is not unknown for the pilots to be so focused on getting their plane down in one piece that exactly how many people might be onboard might not always be the first thing on their mind as in "the Gimli Glider" case for instance.


User currently offlineJjbiv From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1226 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10462 times:

Many smaller airports employ "Public Safety Officers" who perform both police and fire/rescue duties. Needless to say, they keep quite busy.


User currently offlineWhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10432 times:

Many crews are also the first line paramedics and are trained as such. They can be at any point on an airfield within 2 minutes, so can respond faster than an ambulance crew to a medical emergency in the terminal.

User currently offlineSparkyN501 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 52 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10387 times:

I know that here the fire dept spends a lot of time checking the fire suppression systems of the airport. They spend hours every week checking valves, pressure gauges, and emergency equipment in the terminal.

Arguing with a pilot is like mudwrestling a pig. After awhile you begin to think the pig likes it.
User currently offlineA3204eva From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2004, 1060 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10317 times:

Well at BLK, there isn't enough baggage handlers....So when there's a flight, the firemen load/unload the aircraft and put the stairs up to the aircraft.

When there isn't a flight, they train in medical and firefighting situations.


"They have lady pilots......... they're not that good, but they have 'em"
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (11 years 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 10296 times:

Well, we scrapped out an aircraft here in BNA last year and after all the usable parts where removed, we called the fire station and they came over and had fun training, sawing, chopping and down right ripping apart what was left.

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (11 years 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 10238 times:

I've driven past the fire station next to South Cargo @ ATL many times and seen a few of them practicing their chip shots or practicing their casting technique.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 66
Reply 14, posted (11 years 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 10226 times:

And soon they will drive out and shoot a water arch over my last arrival!

Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3095 posts, RR: 19
Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 10188 times:

They mow Happy faces into their lawn in YEG.


Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlinePropulsion From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 294 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (11 years 3 days ago) and read 10087 times:

They plaster 'Mine is bigger than yours' stickers across the airport fire station.
On particularly quite days, they also like to post '4 cannons 4 fire engines' on their vehicles. Wink/being sarcastic

When bored they try out the sirens and lights on the fire engines as though they have never heard or seen them before. They then continue to actively enjoy the sadistic thrill associated with denying school children from finding the right buttons to do just that. Smile/happy/getting dizzy

When no one is looking, they like to stick an 'A340-300' sticker on their fire engines and race down the runway as fast as possible in the futile hope that the thing will actually take-off and fly. Big thumbs up

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
User currently offlineN276AASTT From US Virgin Islands, joined Jan 2004, 620 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 3 days ago) and read 10078 times:

I am currently a FireFighter for the Air Force. Granted, being on a military installation airport is different than a civilian one, a lot of what we do is similar.

There is a lot of studying and training. Our chief's don't want us to be complacent, so there is always something planned for us to do. We have what we call upgrade training that is never-ending. Whether we are learning to be a Fire Inspector, Fire Officer, or the new guys who are learning to be Airport Fire Rescue, etc. We are always learning new things and going over the old.

Aircraft familiarization and drills. We are always touring the outside and inside of different aircraft so we have an understanding of what to expect. We always have to keep in mind that all aircraft interiors differ from airline to airline, so there is no one exact model that we can go from. On the outside, the initial set up of trucks is different on a narrowbody vs a widebody.

Building familiarization and drills. Again, we are always touring the outside and inside of the different airport buildings so we know what to expect. All structures on the airport grounds we are responsible for, we have to know them. We have to know where fire hydrants are, connections, sprinkler systems, water mains and shut offs, and fire alarm panels just to name a few.

Medical and Rescue. A lot of times we are the first to arrive on scene to an emergency, so we have to be able to "treat" a patient until better trained, equipped personnel arrive. That includes crashes where we are responsible for setting up triage. I have been dispatched to calls that range from sprained ankles, an accidental drowning, and people who have fallen in man-holes. Confined Space Rescue is a must as well. A lot of our upgrade training revolves around medical calls. I have achieved First Responder status and will soon be working on EMT.

It may seem a lot, but taken in small doses over time and it isn't overwhelming at all. After all this, there is a lot of time where we are sitting around as our shifts are 24 hours on duty, 24 hours off. The station I'm at we have a full size gym, sauna, volleyball, basketball, computers, movie room and huge kitchen. Big, big dinners are happening all the time. We have our resident Steven Spielberg who is in charge of bringing in movies.

OH! Can't forget the most important, keeping our trucks clean and serviceable. Our trucks cannot shine enough! It is a great job that I have grown to love and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Dejale Caer tu el Peso! YOMO
User currently offlinePropulsion From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 294 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10042 times:


 Wow! And there I was thinking airport fire crew fight fires.  Laugh out loud How stupid of me?  Big thumbs up

Seriously though, the work is very difficult as highlighted by N2766AAST( Confused).

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
User currently offlineN276AASTT From US Virgin Islands, joined Jan 2004, 620 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10021 times:


LOL, I like your response. I wish we could do what you said, that would be fun.


I was deployed to the desert this past winter. A USO tour came through showcasing Tom Green. He toured our station and hopped into the biggest truck we had there. A quick once over of the systems and the truck was started. If you know Tom Green, you know what happened next. He unloaded 3,000 gallons of water into our parking lot using the roof turret on the truck. Nothing escaped him, not even the tour bus he came in. The force of the water at 200 psi knocked out several windows of the bus and knocked a few people over. Funny as hell. Good times

Dejale Caer tu el Peso! YOMO
User currently offlinePropulsion From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 294 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 10004 times:

You have been propelled to my respected users list for all reasons apart from respect.  Big thumbs up

Actually, I do have a very high regard for your profession and enjoyed your story about the bus. You can see from my profile that I have a thing for buses. Love

I have gone to the trouble of vetting all 195 of your posts as I am, like many an airliners.net members, a completely pointlessly fastidious and predantic message poster who feels this forum is my living room, such is my unconsciously dire state in life. Wink/being sarcastic

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
User currently offlineBlink182 From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 5493 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9977 times:

Do large area airports like CDG, DFW, and DEN have more than one fire station in order to respond to calls quicker?


Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlinePropulsion From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 294 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (11 years 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 9955 times:


As far as I am aware, only those in Antarctica are blessed with such virtues as more than one fire station per airport. I always thought it was something to do with reduced visibility between the runway and fire stations for different periods during the year. I now know that it is due to the number of penguins on the runway incidents. Big grin

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
User currently offlineGulfstreamGuy From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 646 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (11 years 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 9932 times:


Wow, what a coincidence that you should ask that question. I just got the opportunity to ride in one yesterday (28th) here in LIT. That was something I always wanted to do since I started at the airport in '93. Most of the firefighters just think of their jobs as a usual job but after only driving luggage tugs and push back tractors around all day it was thrilling!.. although.. I would have to say I enjoy pushing back or towing our DC9s and CRJs around!


"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. " -Jimmy Buffett
User currently offlineTheiler From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 633 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (11 years 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 9865 times:

What could be better than playing with an Oshkosh P-15 all day (in larger airports)?!


At 130,000 lbs, the thing is so big that many bridges can't support its weight. They have one over at Pease... and suffice to say, it doesn't leave base very often, from what I've heard.

25 Post contains images Propulsion : After seeing the link by Theiler, you will all see what I mean by '4 cannons 4 fire engines' from my earlier post now, don't you?
26 PROSA : Actually, many urban, non-airport fire companies are finding themselves with a lot of time on their hands, at least in the United States. For a variet
27 Tcfc424 : In AUS, being a fire fighter myself, I know a little of the goings on at the AUS airport fire station...also due to an ambitious junior fire fighter w
28 High_flyr69 : I did work experience at The Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Service based at MEL. You cannot believe the intensity of work involved on a daily basi
29 Av8rphx : Here in Phoenix,we have a dedicated fire station for PHX. Station 19 is comprised of Engine/Paramedic 19,Squad 19 (BLS), Battalion 19, Foam 1,2 and 3.
30 Squad55 : I know a retired LAFD Captain for Station 80 at LAX. He said they respond to 1.5 calls per day. Station 80 houses the crash trucks. There is another
31 Post contains images CessnaLady : Nah. They a.net all day... Marie
32 Laxintl : Airport Fire Departments are certainly not a slow or quiet place to work. To give you an example of LAX. There are primarily 3 Fire Stations, responsi
33 7E7Fan : Follow up on my Arlanda (ESSA) post above... Funnily enough the airport fire fighters there are not allowed to fight fires in the terminals in case th
34 Post contains images Qblue : YVR just took back the contract from the local Richmond Fire and Rescue. So YVR had to hire a whole new crew,then had them trained in the best ARFF mo
35 NORTHSEATIGER : They play volleyball all day
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