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Just A Drill: Danbury Firefighters Train For Airport Emergencies

Danbury firefighters take part in a drill on the runway at the Danbury Municipal Airport on Thursday. Photo Credit: Danbury Fire Department
Danbury firefighters take part in a drill on the runway at the Danbury Municipal Airport on Thursday. Photo Credit: Danbury Fire Department
Danbury firefighters take part in drills Thursday at the airport. Photo Credit: Danbury Fire Department
The training for Danbury firefighters at the airport included classroom time. Photo Credit: Danbury Fire Department

DANBURY, Conn. — The Danbury Fire Department took part in a realistic drill on Thursday, hitting Runway 35 to practice for a worst-case scenario  at Danbury Municipal Airport.

First-responders were challenged with multiple real-life aircraft emergencies and crash scenarios directly on Runway 35. "Putting the incident directly on the runway made each situation as realistic as possible," the fire department said in a statement.

"Our priority is to have highly trained firefighting personnel ready to safely respond to aircraft emergencies with a laser-focus on the safety of the traveling public, airport personnel, stabilizing the emergency, property preservation and protecting the environment," said the drills Incident Commander, Steven Rogers Jr., training officer for the Danbury Fire Department.

Those taking part in the drill included theDanbury Fire Department, the Danbury Airport, Airport Control Tower personnel, Danbury Police Department, Danbury Emergency Medical Services, and Western Connecticut 911 Center.

"High quality Airport Rescue Fire Fighting training is a critical piece of Danbury Fire Department’s emergency response mission," the department said. The department is ready to "respond not just to fires, medical calls, traffic accidents, waterway emergencies, hazardous material responses but also to aircraft emergencies."

The Danbury Municipal Airport Administration secured an aircraft fuselage for the drills and got the necessary permissions to operate directly at the airport.

Realistic scenarios were created to show what first responders may face upon arrival of an aircraft or airport incident.

The Danbury Fire Department has previously gone to Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts for live fire training.

Danbury Fire’s training Thursday included interior fire attack, engine fires, engine debris fires and ground pit fires, with temperatures exceeding 1,200 degrees.

This year’s training focus was on familiarization of Danbury Municipal Airport, along with strategies, tactics, communications and unified command, which allow firefighters to work with Danbury Police, Emergency Medical Services, Airport Administration and the Airport Tower Control personnel during an aircraft emergency incident.

The training scenarios included:

  • A report of an aircraft accident on the airport with no injuries;
  • An aircraft that has landed but there is a report of a pilot who is combative and refusing to cooperate;
  • A simulated aircraft accident on the runway after hours for the Air Traffic Control tower; and
  • A full-on aircraft accident with a fire and victims.
Firefighters have responded twice in recent months to emergencies at the Danbury Airport.

In September, firefighters helped to "right" an airplane that landed on its nose on the runway in a rough landing. No injuries were reported. ( Click here for the story at Daily Voice.)

On July 31, firefighters rescued three men from a plane that crashed into the brush on the hillside just past Danbury Airport. The pilot, a man from Redding, died later in the hospital.  ( Click here for the story at Daily Voice.)

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