Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting team undergoes annual live fire training

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Members of Rapid City’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting team experienced live fire training Monday morning as part of an annual mandate in order to keep the airport running.

“Any airport that has commercial air traffic is mandated through the FAA to do a live fire training every 12 months,” Rapid City Fire Department Captain Neill Goodart stated.

Arff Replica AircraftAccording to Captain Goodart, RCFD currently has 13 firefighters that are qualified for this type of training.

These yearly sessions give them a means of learning new techniques for fighting fires through simulations with a replica aircraft, on top of reviewing others for different emergency situations.

Also part of the training were trucks filled with gallons of water, which were used to put out the controlled flames.

Participants were focused mainly on the aircraft and fuel for the session, as they are two key differences in dealing with these types of fires.

“The biggest difference obviously is you’re dealing with an aircraft that’s going to have a lot of people on board,” Captain Goodart began. “And the other thing is we’re dealing primarily with fuel fires here. Airplane fuel versus your traditional combustibles like wood and grass and things of that sort.”

According to RCFD, they have not had many plane fires occurring at the airport.

And while there were no new techniques to learn this year, participants were able to practice extinguishing fires caused by fuel in a controlled setting around the replica aircraft.

“Obviously this is a low-frequency, high risk call for us,” he explained. “So it gives all of us a chance to practice our skills in a semi real-world environment which we don’t get to do very often.”


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