First responders train for fires at Augusta Regional Airport

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If you’ve noticed smoke near the Augusta Airport over the last couple of days, that’s because crews are doing emergency training.

We were there to learn more about how first responders prepare in case an emergency happens on the runway.

“It can get extreme, very extreme heat. A lot higher heats than you would normally find,” said Richard Beal, fire chief with Augusta Regional Airport Fire Department.

Augusta Regional has its own fire department on site. Even though they don’t see much action, they are always working to be prepared.

“We are so efficient at being fire preventive, we don’t have that many fires we respond to. This training gives us that opportunity our apparatus and equipment on any types of fires we would run into on an aircraft,” he said.

The training is intense. Their top priority is the aircraft and the people near it.

“Research has shown that in commercial aircraft, a fire inside can move through it in about 90 seconds,” said Beal. “Our response time on the property is the same, within that 90 seconds.”

The new aircraft prop gives them the opportunity to see and train on different types of fires they might encounter on an aircraft.

“It will simulate aircraft fires whether it’s a wheel fire or an engine fire,” he said.

Beal says his team trains periodically to stay on top of their skills in case something catches fire.

“We had an aircraft incident on Monday where the front landing gear collapsed on the aircraft that can start a fire in this case it didn’t,” he said. “We run a very strong fire prevention where we are in all buildings making sure people are safe.”