Rapid City firefighters hone skills in fighting aircraft fires

The Rapid City Fire Department's Station 8 held their annual ARFF training at the Rapid City...
The Rapid City Fire Department's Station 8 held their annual ARFF training at the Rapid City Regional Airport.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 9:48 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Some of the Rapid City Fire Department’s “Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting” qualified firefighters participated in live training at Rapid City Regional Airport on Monday.

There are around 160 members in the Rapid City Fire Department and only 14 are qualified to be Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting firefighters.

“It’s a whole separate course that we have to go through. Then a whole next level of training on top of the training that we all do,” said Fire Station 8 Captain Neill Goodart.

Aside from the physical training, the Station 8 crew must be knowledgeable of the different aircraft they might have to deal with.

“We have to learn about the different types of aircraft that come into the area and how they operate. There’s a whole host of subject areas that we have to… also follow per FAA guidelines,” said Goodart.

The ARFF training must be done by qualified firefighters every year, but over the last couple of years, they also extended the offer for some of the in-town Firefighters, that way they can also learn how to react to aircraft-related fires.

“The biggest difference is that in people’s homes there are nooks and crannies, but in an aircraft that’s small and everything is really close together there’s a lot of nooks and crannies in there,” said Rapid City Fire Department firefighter-paramedic Kevin Sosa “When we don’t get our hands on a lot of aircraft interiors, it adds another element of unfamiliarity to it,”

By the end of the training day, many in-town firefighters were glad to have participated in the ARFF training.

“Anytime that we’re able to do something that is different, that is outside the norm for us, we should always, and we’re always willing to jump in and do it because we don’t get this opportunity all the time,” said Sosa.