WFD Station 4: Did you know?
By Member Craig Moen
March 12, 2020

When you think about air travel you probably think about TSA security checks, getting boarding passes, checking luggage or maybe just stepping off the plane to warm tropical air, or the smiles from loved ones waiting to pick you up. Something you most likely never give any thought to is, who responds to the airport if there’s an emergency with the plane? Air travel is an extremely safe way to travel and every year millions of people fly in the United states without a problem. But should there be an emergency, there are people that are trained just for that situation. Luckily most people never have to meet these folks, but they are there every day. They are the men and women of ARFF (Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting).

Here at XWA we have certified and trained fire fighters on shift 24 hours a day 7days a week. The fire fighters work 48 hour shifts and are grouped into three shifts, A shift, B shift and C shift. With three firefighters on duty per shift. There is one officer per shift with two Firefighter/Driver operators. These firefighters are also, at a minimum, EMT’s and can assist with any type of medical emergency that should occur, be it on an aircraft or in the terminal. These Fire fighters train every day to insure if there ever is a problem, they will be ready for it.

Keeping track of flight logs to document times of departure and arrivals. Daily checks of all trucks and equipment to insure complete readiness when called upon. Training to be proficient and knowledgeable with ARFF apparatus which are quite different than your normal Fire apparatus. They carry more water and foam agent than normal fire trucks. These specialized pieces of equipment are required to respond and deliver these firefighting agents quickly to safeguard the lives of passengers and crew. This must also be done within a minimum FAA mandated time, which is randomly tested by FAA personnel. The FAA also has several required training curriculums which must be performed and recorded.

The Firefighters at XWA also provide structural fire protection to the terminal, hangers and other buildings on site. Through monthly inspections and general daily activities their eyes are always on the look out for potential life safety threats.
So, the next time you fly, and you happen to catch a glimpse of a large green truck out your window, you can rest easy knowing that’s the ARFF personnel who are keeping a watchful eye on your plane helping you to have a safe uneventful flight. And although you might not have ever given it a second thought, rest assured they are there ready and willing to answer the call should it ever arise.