Firefighters train in live-fire situations, dealing with fuel spills


REDDING, Calif. - Cal Fire, Red Bluff and Shasta County firefighters practiced mock airport disaster drills Friday and Saturday. The drills are done every three years.

The drills were conducted by Redding Fire Department and focused on air rescue training Friday, and live fire training Saturday.

Redding Fire Battalion Chief Rob Pitt said they use propane during the drill for safety because it can be controlled.

Crews simulated fuel spills if a plane were to crash and practiced putting out the fire while rescuing mannequin victims from the aircraft.

The model could also simulate a crashed, fuel truck on the freeway.

"With an aircraft fire, our biggest hazard is fuel, which burns very hot, very rapidly, which requires an extremely quick response to get a blanket of foam down to protect the passengers so they can exit the aircraft. In addition to going in and saving any victims that may still be in the aircraft," Pitt said.

Pitt added that this is especially good practice for new firefighters to get comfortable with their gear and gain confidence in their skills.

He said this is a realistic drill that allows crews to practice fighting an aircraft fire, which isn't something they get to do very often.