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Firefighters travel to Logan to train with live fire
BOSTON -- Hanscom firefighters use a water fog stream to push fire off fuel during a training exercise at Logan International Airport June 19. The training provides realistic experiences for the firefighters should a similar event happen locally. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)
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Firefighters travel to Logan to train with live fire

Posted 6/20/2012   Updated 6/20/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

6/20/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The heat was on when 10 members of the Hanscom Fire Department traveled to Logan International Airport June 19 to fulfill an annual Federal Aviation Administration training requirement simulating an aircraft incident.

Crews battled an aircraft fuselage burning with jet fuel using a water fog stream to push the fire off the surface of the flowing or pooling fuel.

The base fire chief explained that staying current with the practice of fighting an aircraft fire is important should a similar scenario ever play out locally.

"The live training we received at Logan Airport is as close to realistic as we can get to the potential of fighting an aircraft incident," said Bob Hildreth, Hanscom fire chief. "To put the fire out, crews actually have to push the fire off the top of the fuel, separating the heat from the fuel."

Crews normally train at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., on propane-fed fire that they say is not nearly as realistic.

"Battling a live fuel fire as opposed to propane-fed fires is a more realistic situation with heat, visibility and smoke conditions that exist with fuel, all in a controlled environment," said Dale Smith, firefighter. "We are able to discuss tactics and strategies and how we attack a fire and move it; a luxury we don't get with propane."

Smith was also grateful for the opportunity to return to some of the basics in fighting fires.

"Applications of hose streams, nozzle practice and advancing hose lines are other training opportunities we had in this scenario," Smith continued. "We practiced techniques used to move hose lines forward and back out again."

Training, however, is not something the department is unfamiliar with. In addition to this annual requirement, firefighters train at least quarterly on fighting structure fires.

"We spend a great deal of time training for when that emergency call comes in, we're prepared," said Capt. Barry Bilicki.

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