Pictured above: The Statesville Fire Department’s airport truck participates in Friday’s training – Submitted Photo
A special training exercise was held Friday at the Statesville Regional Airport as part of the on-going preparation of Statesville City firefighters when responding to any possible airport-related emergencies. The Airport Rescue Firefighter Certification Class was hosted by Mitchell Community College’s Public Safety Continuing Education Program.
The simulator plane, pictured in attached photos, was loaned by Cleveland Community College and helped prevent firefighters from having to travel out of town to receive the training. The realistic exercise involved a plane crash, a fuel spill on the ground and victims (mannequins) trapped inside the plane, said Statesville Fire Chief Spencer Lee.
About a dozen firefighters practiced aircraft firefighting and rescue during the training and also used the City’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARRF) vehicle. Airport Rescue Certification requires 40 hours of training, explained Lee. “We are training the entire department shift by shift to make sure our firefighters are well prepared for any airport emergencies that occur on or off the airport,” said Lee.
John Ferguson, Airport Manager, said the training was vital to the growth of the airport, “in that we can provide the safest possible airport to our community, tenants and pilots. I am excited to know that we will have more fireman specifically trained in aircraft rescue and firefighting at the airport.”
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