Myrtle Beach International Airport Fire Department hosts first-ever live-fire simulation training

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - For the first time ever the Myrtle Beach International Airport Fire Department is conducting live-fire training right here in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach International Airport Fire Department begins live fire simulation training.
Myrtle Beach International Airport Fire Department begins live fire simulation training.(wmbf)

This is the first-year airport firefighters can stay in Myrtle Beach and practice live-fire simulations for a full week.

This is annual required FAA regulation training all airport firefighters must receive at least every 12 months.

In the past, it’s been held in Colombia. Deputy Fire Chief Patrick O’Leary says the biggest benefit of not having to travel outside of town for training is that non-airport firefighters are now able to participate in this training too.

“We’re a small department. We rely heavily on mutual aid to come in and help us if we were to have an actual plane crash. This gives us the chance to work with them, fighting fire together, using each other’s equipment. It helps with interoperability and communication,” said Deputy Fire Chief Patrick O’Leary.

The Fire Chief says in addition to mutual aid, the department now gets to use their own equipment. He says this allows his firefighters to get more familiarity with the equipment they’d use in real-world scenarios.

Myrtle Beach International Airport Firefighter David Williams says not having to travel to Colombia for training saves the team time.

“We can leave our station, stay on property, still be available for emergencies on the airport, but get hands-on training without having to go off the field either incurring overtime or other issues that may come up,” said Williams.

The department rented a mobile aircraft fire trainer that allows firefighters to simulate a variety of live fire situations in more efficient ways.

Rather than using foam or chemical agents, the team uses water to put out fires during training. They say they don’t want to affect the airport using other agents.

Deputy Fire Chief O’Leary says the goal of this training is to use their trucks to push fire away from the aircraft and create an escape patch.

The Airport firefighters began training today and the Fire Captain Michael Mooney says its been well received by his team.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm about this especially it being the first time. Everyone wants it to go well. Hopefully, we can continue it into the future,” said Captain Mooney.

The Myrtle Beach International Airport Fire Department hopes to continue annual training in Myrtle Beach. Throughout the week Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Horry County Fire Departments will all complete training.

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