Preparing for an Aircraft Disaster

Techniques, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Preparing for an Aircraft Disaster


At a community and technical college in Minnesota, a specialized training program is preparing rescue workers to face one of the most terrifying kinds of accidents.

Response and rescue workers at the site of an airplane crash require a specialized training, and when large commercial airliners or military craft go down, that training could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of people. Because of the large amounts of fuel carried by airplanes, accidents often involve quickly spreading flames from ignited fuel spills; therefore firefighters must be able to analyze the situation almost instantly and then respond accordingly if there is to be any hope for survivors.

Simulating a Crash

One place where aircraft rescue firefighting is being provided is at Lake Superior College, a community and technical college in Duluth, Minnesota. The school's high-tech fire training simulator offers the opportunity for advanced hands-on training.

The simulator is a two-thirds-scale mock up of a 757 airplane that is 75 feet long with a wingspan of 57 feet. There is a burn pit that is 125 feet in diameter. The simulator has 98 computer-controlled burn segments, 13 separate types of fires, and what the schools says is an almost unlimited number of programmable fire scenarios. The maximum flame height is 50 feet, and the internal temperature reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the ceiling. In a full burn, the maximum fuel consumption is 1,780 gallons in three minutes. Billowing smoke and 50-foot-high propane-fueled flames bring a terrifying spectacle to mind for an average citizen. "It gets your attention," says Dave Sarazin, the emergency training program director at Lake Superior College, in the typically understated manner of the professional who is accustomed to facing danger.

According to Sarazin, there are probably 30 other types of simulators for this training, but he believes that none of them are as complex as the one at his institution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appreciates the environmental friendliness of the Minnesota school's simulator, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) likes the safety aspects. Because of the valuing system and the use of propane fuel, it can be shut down in two-and-a-half to three seconds.

"The EPA likes it because it doesn't pollute," says Sarazin. "OSHA likes it because it is infinitely controllable."

World-Class Training

The Lake Superior College aircraft rescue program also has two classrooms, four equipment bays, a staging/assembly room and a decontamination apparatus instructional area. Support facilities include a control tower, wastewater treatment facility, holding pond and propane storage tanks. With support from approximately $15 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, the 95-acre site was opened in 1994.

Classes in the program include an eight-hour course on spill fires and wheel, baggage and cabin fires. A two-- day refresher class is geared toward situations involving large-frame aircraft. The 40-hour aircraft rescue firefighting course includes two-and-a-half days of live fire training and classroom instruction on basic knowledge of aircraft systems, military aircraft, tools and safety. There is also a 16hour class on aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles.

The aircraft rescue and firefighting program at Lake Superior has not just drawn trainees from Minnesota. Firefighters have come to the school from across the United States, and sometimes even from beyond our borders. Among the countries that have sent firefighters for training at the facility are Canada, England, France, Mongolia and countries in Central and South America.

Securing a Safe Future

Democratic Congressman James Oberstar represents Minnesota's Eighth District, which includes Duluth. He is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was involved in the legislation for federalization of airport security screeners and universal baggage screening. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Preparing for an Aircraft Disaster
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.