Firefighters from several departments gathered last week at the Farmington Fire House for special training in dealing with helicopter fires.
Craig Bone of Local Emergency Training Specialists said that with the ever increasing use of helicopters for medical transport, a potentially deadly kind of emergency situation becomes more likely.
“The class is designed for aircraft or medivac helicopters that have a hard landing incident,” he said. “The overall objective is to rescue the pilot or patient they may be carrying. Of course, the helicopter could be on fire and that is what the department is training for today. We did some flammable liquids, the helicopter carries around 90 gallons of JP4 (jet fuel) depending on the aircraft. We are practicing different techniques of extinguishing the fire.”
Farmington Fire Chief Todd Mecey explained fire departments bear the responsibility of where a medivac helicopter lands in an emergency.
“Anytime there’s going to be a helicopter landing outside of boundary of the airport or a helipad at the hospital, we always have the fire department respond to set up the landing zone,” he said. “That provides scene safety and gives us fire suppression capability at the landing zone in case there’s a mishap.”
The training program was made available in partnership with Three Rivers Community College. The course is funded by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, through the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.