JASPER COUNTY, Ind (WLFI)—You may think that putting out a house fire or an aircraft fire would require some of the same steps right?
Well they don’t, and Purdue University Fire Department helped smaller departments in rural areas understand why. Now those first responders will have the skills they’ll need in unfamiliar situations.
“It’s very important to talk about it,” said Flight Instructor for the Kentland Municipal Airport Charles Classen.
Aircrafts were the topic of discussion in Jasper County, as first responders listened in on a presentation from Purdue University Fire Department about aircraft rescue and firefighting.
“A lot of counties around here have small airports and volunteer fire departments,” said Firefighter for Purdue University Fire Department Bradley Mushett. “They may not have the equipment like a large airport has.”
Firefighters at Purdue University Fire Department are certified in AARF, also known as aircraft rescue. They are sent to South Carolina for a week where they gain the training and certification.
“Because Purdue flies so many flights in and out, now they’re trainers and they’re students,” said Mushett. “But obviously the more flights the higher the ratio, the more probability that something bad could happen.”
Airport manager for the Jasper County Airport, Ray Seif, arranged this presentation today. He was in a situation where he says this information would have helped.
“There was an aircraft incident that I was called to, it wasn’t at the airport, and it was a few miles away from here, it was after hours,” said Seif. “The sheriff’s office called and basically just wanted a little bit of assistance.”
Seif has over 10 years of aviation risk management experience. While he isn’t qualified in aircraft rescue, he understands how hazardous it can be dealing with aircrafts and hopes to bring more awareness and training to the area.
“We hope to have several of these once maybe every year and I hope it’s cumulative, it adds, and maybe they’ll learn a little bit here, a little bit next time,” said Seif.
Things like dealing with volatile fuels and aircraft fuel which can spread very quickly and create bigger flames is just one skill first responders learned how to deal with in the presentation.