Thick Smoke Near Airport Part of Regular Training



Black smoke billows from near Kodiak State Airport where Coast Guard and Womens Bay fire departments were practicing Wednesday. Brianna Gibbs photo

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

You may have noticed black smoke billowing from the Coast Guard base late yesterday morning. While the ominous-looking clouds did act as somewhat of an eyesore on an otherwise sunny day, their presence should be a reassurance that local firemen are training hard.

The smoke came from a pit fire training for airport crash fire crews. Coast Guard Fire Chief Jeff Halcomb explained what exactly pit fire training entails.

(Fire Drill 1: :13 sec "Pit fire training is… and protect them from peril.")

Chief Halcomb said yesterday’s training encompassed 15 people from base fire crews and also volunteers from the Womens Bay Fire Department.

Pit fire trainings usually occur in two ways. One way involves rescuing dummies from aircrafts. Halcomb said fire crews strive to have all passengers out of a plane within three minutes. The other aspect of training involves learning how to get a fire under control using water or foam. According to Halcomb, yesterday’s training dealt primarily with nozzle technique and directing the water toward the base of a fire.

Halcomb said a number of scenarios could cause a fire on the runway.

(Fire Drill 2: :14 sec "A plane crashing or a hard … we have to get people out.")

The training occurs multiple times annually and helps keep the qualifications and proficiency of fire crews up to date.


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