Drills, Firefighter Training

Drill of the Week: Military Aircraft Emergencies

This week’s drill covers rare occurrences in many jurisdictions: military aircraft emergencies. These incidents require special techniques and involve a special set of resources you may not normally encounter–the Feds. The drill is designed to help participants learn the special techniques required for accessing injured crew members and the special hazards of military aircraft, particularly helicopters.

The easiest way to set up a program of this type is to contact a local Air National Guard unit or other military base. Request a briefing and an opportunity to inspect the aircraft. Sometimes these facilities will allow you to arrange a helicopter landing at a nearby athletic field. Just be sure to get permission to use the field. A flyer describing to the public what will occur may also be of use.

Materials required for this drill are those requested by the military or required for your backup drill. Prepare by meeting with a military representative at least by phone. Make sure he knows this is not a recruiting opportunity or show-and-tell for military equipment. Ask specifically about how your members will access the crew compartment of various military aircraft.

You need to know:

  • How to approach the aircraft safely;
  • How to unlock and operate the access doors;
  • How to disconnect the batteries;
  • The location of any special sensors that may be heated or hazardous to members;
  • The location of any hazardous materials;
  • Special recommendations on extinguishing agents; and
  • How to activate any built-in suppression systems.

Arrange the time and place, and find out whether the briefers need any special visual aid equipment.

Running the Drill
If helicopters are going to land at a local field, arrive early. Survey the area for debris that could be drawn into the engines or thrown about by rotor wash. Place members around the field to prevent children from entering the landing area. Caution civilians about potential hazards during takeoff and landing. Introduce the military representatives. Make sure you have a backup drill. After the drill, send a thank-you letter addressed to the commanding officer.

Base your debriefing on your observations and input from the military representative. Discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what should be done differently next time.

If you have a similar drill idea and wish to share it, please e-mail: [email protected].

To review training officer and safety officer considerations, visit http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=HOME&PUBLICATION_ID=25&ARTICLE_ID=202453 to review training officer and safety officer considerations.

For more information on this drill, including a list of references and figures (if available), visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.

Next week’s drill: Driver Proficiency

FireEngineering.com Drill of the Week Archive