22right
Topic Author
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What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:26 am

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
 
RareBear
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:38 am

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
 
copter808
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:44 am

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.
 
FinnWings
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:48 am

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.

Regards,
FinnWings
 
FRASYD
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:58 am

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
 
isitsafenow
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:59 am

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.
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
birdy92
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:06 am

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.
 
7E7Fan
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:18 am

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.

/Mike
 
jjbiv
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:26 am

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

joe
 
whitehatter
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:34 am

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.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
SparkyN501
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:53 am

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.
 
A3204eva
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:41 am

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.

A320
"They have lady pilots......... they're not that good, but they have 'em"
 
EMBQA
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:49 am

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"
 
srbmod
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:28 am

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.
 
SlamClick
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:41 am

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.
 
greasespot
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:03 am

They mow Happy faces into their lawn in YEG.

GS
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?"
 
Propulsion
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:06 am

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.
 
N276AASTT
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:09 am

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
 
Propulsion
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:32 am

N276AASTT:

 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.
 
N276AASTT
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:45 am

Propulsion:

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

Story:

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
 
Propulsion
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:01 am

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.
 
blink182
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:23 am

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

blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
Propulsion
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:34 am

Blink182:

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.
 
GulfstreamGuy
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:05 am

22right,

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!

GulfstreamGuy
"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. " -Jimmy Buffett
 
Theiler
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:43 am

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

http://www.carolinasfirepage.com/apparatus/arff15.html

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.
 
Propulsion
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 11:46 am

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?  Wink/being sarcastic

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
 
prosa
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:18 pm

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 variety of reasons, building fires, especially serious ones, are less common today than in past years. Some larger cities therefore find themselves with more fire companies than they really need. Because closing firehouses is politically very difficult, in many cities fire companies routinely respond to medical calls, primarily to keep themselves active.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
tcfc424
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 1:08 pm

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 who has befriended the guys at the AUS ARFF station. They spend quite a bit of time training on different aircraft, their equipment, the airport layout (AUS has many undeveloped acres that have often left them wondering how to best handle aircraft emergencies in those areas (I recall a Bonanza going down not too long ago), responding to medical emergencies on the property of the airport, responding to the fuel spills, etc, obviously responding to the alert I and II's (very very few Alert II's in AUS thankfully) and inspecting the buildings and fire suppression systems. They do have time (usually after 5 pm and before 7 am) that they spend time for themselves...checking email, watching movies, cooking, and of course, working on their chip shots. Many of the fire fighters assigned to that station are up for promotion and spend their free time buried in the books for promotional testing...

Hats off to the ARFF guys at fire stations across the world.
 
high_flyr69
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 2:14 pm

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 basis. My day started at 8am when roll call is done followed by assignment to our tenders (fire trucks, or vehicle). Following this ALL equipment on board the trucks are checked for operation and functionality and that they are stowed into their individual compartments accordingly, by this stage it is usually around 9am. After checking of equipment aboard the tenders the roster table is checked for any routine practices, revision classes, lectures, or teaching work (usually fire cabin crew training), such activities on the roster board include, aircraft familiarisation, domestic fire training, aircraft fire training, HAZCHEM procedures, first aid training just to name a few.

It is the role of the ARFFS to respond to ANY fire or medical related occurrences on airport ground, including tarmac and terminals and in MEL case a rather large section of empty land surrounding the airport subject to occasional grass fires.

A typical day will see approximately 5 callouts to smoke alarms (mostly false alarms, burnt toast etc..) and maybe 1 or 2 first aid callouts. In my week at ARFFS we had only one serious callout, which was for excessively hot brakes on arrival in which we tracked the aircraft down the taxiway to its gate observing in preparation for action if they caught fire, fortunately this did not occur. In my week we rehearsed the following scenarios, Domestic House fire, HAZCHEM procedures, and Aircraft Familiarisation and recognition. Each of these rehearsals are intensive and are a result of up to a week of planning. The Domestic House fire took 2 hours to set up and about a hour and a half to execute. By the time daily rehearsals are carried out it is about 2pm, depending on the frequency of callouts during the day. At this stage the crew have lunch while watching some TV.

Another vital part of operations in the ARFFS is Call tower operations, each crew member spends at least 1 hour shift a day up there and are responsible for all incoming calls and for decisions in which tenders and how many tenders are required for each callout.

I absolutely loved being in the call tower and I spent as much time as I could here. The views are incredible as is the NOISE!, also there is an air traffic scanner on 24/7 to listen to.

The day for the morning shift workers ends at 6pm, before knocking off to go home all equipment must be checked, packaged and stowed away correctly and a checklist must be completed to ensure that everything is in its place for the next crew.

I loved my week at the ARFFS as i gained a huge insight into one of the least recognised and appreciated aviation related professions, the work in intense but in most cases is challenging, exciting and fun. The blokes and woman at Melbourne ARFFS are a top group and i cannot speak high enough of their professionalism and their skills that i have doubt will ensure the wellbeing of all users of Melbourne International Airport.

Anyone who wants some contact information in regards to attaining work experience at ARFFS can email me at high_flyr73@hotmail.com i am more than willing to help anyone who wants to endure a week of challenging fun.

cheers
high_flyr69
Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice Doggy' until you find the shot gun
 
av8rphx
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:16 pm

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. They spend most of their days responding to medical emergencies at PHX. Station 29 is on the north side of PHX and will respond on ALS calls when EP19 is unavail,and will send R29 to transport pt's from PHX. Of course Station 19 and Station 29 are always ready to respond to Alert 1s and Alert 2s.
 
squad55
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:48 pm

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 station near the south side I believe which has paramedics ladder and engine.
 
cessnalady
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 4:22 pm

Nah. They a.net all day...  Big thumbs up

Marie
 
LAXintl
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:07 pm

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, responsible for LAX. 1-on field Fire Crash Rescue, 1-on field fire and paramedic and 1-airport adjacent fire and paramedic station.

Between these 3 stations nearly 7000 calls were handled in the last year. That's about 19 calls per day. Indeed very few are for aircraft incidents, however many are for medical situations or accidents that occur on the airport property or adjacent facilities like cargo handling.

There have been occasions when additional off airport resources were needed as all 3 airport facilities were already assigned to calls of various natures.

One needs to remember especially in the case of major international facilities, that airport are small/medium sized cities to themselves. For instance in 2003 LAX had about 150,000 passenger travel in and out each day, along with nearly 50,000 employees.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
7E7Fan
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Thu Jul 01, 2004 4:42 am

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 there would be one unless maybe as backup when requested. Instead there is also a city fire fighter truck with crew stationed at each fire station on the airport.

/Mike
 
qblue
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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2004 3:47 am

RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:49 am

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 money can buy a school in Teesside UK. They are first responders to all medical calls in the terminal. YVR also has a large Alaska cruise ship traffic in the summer, many of pax are older. I see them training all the time,they just got a new truck called an oshkosh striker I think. It is impressive seeing them practice. Same as Arlanda the fire crew at YVR can not respond to a fire in the terminal this is still Richmond FD responsibility. My guess is they can not keep the airport open and be on aircraft standby while fighting a structural fire.

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northseatiger
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RE: What Do Airport Fire Crews Do All Day?

Thu Jul 01, 2004 8:32 pm

They play volleyball all day
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