Firefighter Training, Firefighting, Structural Firefighting

Basic Aircraft Firefighting Hazards

Issue 11 and Volume 168.

BY JACOB McAFEE I have been responding to aircraft accidents and mishaps my entire career, and I have seen some of the amazing ways aircraft hazards can sneak up on you and challenge you to think outside the box. Have you heard that once an aircraft is on the ground, it’s no different from a structure fire? I don’t agree; I have been a part of multiple rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft crashes for military and civilian aircraft. In that time, only three have actually crashed on the airfield. Why is that important? Because mutual-aid partners of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) response organizations typically arrive first and apply the same strategy and tactics that normally would apply at any other fire. This is not good because the chief or company officer is making decisions without knowing the hazards that threaten him and his firefighters. Too often, aircraft hazards…

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