PHOENIX — The Phoenix Fire Department is in the middle of its week-long annual aircraft fire rescue training, as is required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Based at the Phoenix Fire Department’s regional training academy, firefighters trained in aircraft fire rescue training special operations attend nearly 50 hours of continuing education each year.
“Our position at Sky Harbor is required by the FAA,” said Fire Captain Jake Van Hook. “But at the same time it’s Phoenix Fire Department’s pride to do the very best that we can for the citizens of Phoenix and the visitors who come through the central hub at our airport.”
The week-long training includes simulated fires on a look-alike aircraft that is contracted by its own company.
The company brings its props to Phoenix Fire Department’s training academy and allows the special operation crews to run their drills.
The special operation firefighters practiced putting out fires on the look-alike aircraft while it sat on trays of propane imitating a jet fuel spill.
In addition to the special operation firefighters, they also had two aircraft firefighting trucks on the ground helping extinguish the fire. The aircraft firefighting trucks weigh more than 150,000 pounds and carry 4,500 gallons of water.
“The simulations for the trainings are all based on incidents that could happen at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport,” Van Hook said.
Phoenix Fire Department’s regional training academy also has set parameters on their tarmac indicating where a terminal would be. Van Hook said, “Should it happen, we have fully capable and staffed trucks and fire houses on the airports grounds ready to respond to any kind of emergency.”