On the evening of Tuesday, June 29th, Local members and Centennial Airport conducted a training exercise that tested our policies, procedures, strategies, and tactics. At 6 p.m. a simulated inbound airplane declared an emergency and responders were dispatched by the air traffic control tower. 3 Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting apparatus (ARFF) units, a Medic Unit, Battalion Chief and Safety Officer responded to their predetermined staging points along runway 10/28 to wait for the plane. A simulated crash occurred at the end of the runway along Peoria Street and the emergency crews reacted to it. Airport Operations personnel communicated with air traffic control and guided SMFR units to the scene where they immediately began fire suppression and rescue operations.
The largest ARFF Unit named “Red 1” positioned where the nose or cockpit of the aircraft would be and used its turrets to spray water. “Red 2” positioned where the aircraft door is located and created a safe path for passengers exit and rescuers to access injured or trapped people. “Red 3” also positioned their vehicle for fire suppression and firefighters used saws to cut their way into the damaged fuselage to search for victims. All 3 specialized vehicles also carry foam and dry chemical extinguishing agent that can be used for jet fuel fires, if necessary.
The drill took about 15 minutes from the time of call until the situation was under control, and it was followed by a long and productive conversation between Centennial Airport and South Metro personnel. High intensity training scenarios like this one strengthen the relationship between both organizations and ensure our response to emergencies is well coordinated. The training scenario will also occur on Wednesday June 30th and Friday July 2nd so that personnel across all 3 of South Metro’s shifts will benefit from this experience.