Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Fire Dept. Ready for Airplane Disaster, Should One Occur



With the increased aircraft traffic in Middle Tennessee, Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department is taking proactive measures to prepare personnel for responding to aircraft and airfield emergencies. 

A total of 28 MFRD personnel attended a three-day/20-hour course hosted by Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority’s Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy in Deason, Tenn.

The course covered basic procedures for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, commonly referred to as ARFF, for municipal firefighters. Course topics included: Aviation Fire Suppression, General Airfield Safety, Airport Terminology, and Search Procedures for Locating Downed Aircraft. Emergency response to commercial incidents and rescue of occupants were also included in the course.

MFRD recently acquired four mobile aviation radios that will allow the department to communicate with aircraft when necessary. The radios can even be used to detect signals from an aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter or ELT to assist personnel with locating a downed airplane. Personnel got a chance to practice this task while in class.

Chief Joe Johnson with the Department of Public Safety for the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority said, “We were glad to be able to offer the expertise of our staff to provide this invaluable training opportunity to MFRD. The knowledge gained from this course greatly benefits the flying community in the Murfreesboro area. Pilots can be assured that during an emergency MFRD is ready to respond and address the situation at hand.”

Students practiced hands-on activities at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport, but also had a day of training at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport. Personnel were able to tour the facilities and visit the Middle Tennessee State University Aerospace Department to learn about their fleet of aircraft which are based at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport.

More than 20 MFRD personnel completed this class in Spring 2013. Director of the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, Chad Gehrke, commented on MFRD’s commitment to proactive training, “The class that we conducted last Spring and this Fall demonstrates the high level of professionalism that we have in our MFRD. MFRD is always striving to learn all they can to be able to respond quicker and more efficiently no matter the facility or type of operation that is occurring in this community.” He also mentioned what he gained from the experience, “Through this training, I learned some valuable information as well which we can incorporate here at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport to improve signage and communications with MFRD personnel to assist them with their response at our airport.”

MFRD Fire Chief Cumbey Gaines was very appreciative of the opportunity for MFRD personnel to attend this class. “Just last week, the Nashville airport experienced a small plane crash. That confirms to me even more that we did the right thing in preparing our personnel for a local incident. MFRD is fortunate to have a good working relationship with our Murfreesboro area airports, and thankful for the training opportunities we have with them. We are also proud to be able to provide the community with a diverse set of rescue operation services.”

Source:   Ashley McDonald, Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue


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