Springfield-Branson National Airport leaders hold first responder aircraft fire training on Thursday

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield-Branson National Airport held a live training exercise Thursday morning for airport first responders. They practiced putting out aircraft fires.

The fake plane fire offered a concrete example of what first responders can face on any given day. In the simulated fire, firefighters entered the burning plane, located the victims, while working on a gas leak on the opposite side of the plane. Springfield-Branson National Airport fire crews say communication and teamwork are key in this situation.

“What this training does for us is it just prepares us for the inevitable worst-case scenario,” said airport fire chief Eric Sanders.

Federal regulations require airport firefighters to regularly practice fighting aircraft fires. Failure to do so could result in the loss of the airport’s certification to handle commercial air service. Sanders says one of the biggest challenges facing airport emergencies is the water supply.

“We’re limited to our fire engines, that’s where we rely on mutual aid to get us water,” Sanders said. “We have foam that is readily available in the field. Our trucks use foam and water to extinguish these fires.

Sanders also says the training is eye-opening and can even be helpful for structural firefighters.

“You never know when a plane is going to crash or where it’s going to crash,” Sanders said. “Learning these skills on how to fight fuel fires or get in is very beneficial.”

In 2024, the airport will hold a large-scale training exercise.

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