Fire training for airport emergencies

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - Flames erupted on the runway at Capital Region International Airport Friday.

The fires were deliberately set as part of a plan to keep passengers safe.

A runway can experience all sorts of fires. For example, ground fires,engine fires, fires inside the plane, and training those fire fighting skills keeps officers sharp.

"If we don't practice it we either use it or loose it. It's important to get out to get the equipment and get it out and see what problems might exist with the equipment," said Eric Patrick, Chief of Public Safety at the Capital Region International Airport.

The airport fire crew worked on extinguishing a ground fire. That type of fire happens when fuel leaks from the plane and ignites.

Then you have a fire inside the plane. Patrick said it's important to tackle the ground fire before rescuing people.

"If you have fire behind you that's a risk to the firefighters. And when people exit via slide or whatever, we don't want them running into the fire," said Patrick

And over and over again the officers practiced, making this also a team building exercise.

"We have some new members on the department, it's good to work with each other see strengths and weaknesses," said Patrick.

The Capital Region International Airport has a response time of three minutes. The department is fully staffed and stationed at the airport.

The airport's public-safety chief told us that airplane fires are rare there.

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