Firefighters train up close on how to fight airplane crash fires

Firefighters train up close on how to fight airplane crash fires

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As with any firefighter training, preparation is the key and requires tedious attention to detail; especially with equipment.

But eventually, firefighters have to meet the monster.

On Thursday, about 24 firefighters from Harrison County, Gulfport, the Airport Authority and Combat Readiness Training Center found out the hot way what a plane fire is like.

"You can't put a price tag on this type of training," said Mike Pritchard with the CRTC Fire Department. "Real life training."

Although it was Pritchard's first training in plane crash fire-fighting, he is already aware of the huge danger.

"The jet fuel creates a hotter fire. The chemicals involved with the fire are very toxic compared to most homes," Pritchard said. "Just the number of victims that can be inside of a plane crash versus a home fire."

Scenarios at the week-long training included using water jet tanks from trucks, as well as close contact with hand lines.

"The issue with a plane crash is it requires a large fast, response," said Russell Shoultz, assistant fire chief with the CRTC. "The most important part of that training is learning teamwork and developing the partnerships and relationships. That is so essential in handling major emergencies."

Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan agreed.

"The training we're doing in this scenario will be the things we find out in the real world," said Sullivan. "We have the opportunity and the ability to do it in a controlled setting, do it right and learn the most we can from it."

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.