ARFF (Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting)

Cancer Is the Biggest Killer of America’s Firefighters

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 09:00

by TOM COSTELLO

BOSTON — For the nation’s oldest fire department, the alarm sounds 234 times a day.

Car accidents, medical calls, rescues and fires keep Boston firefighters busy round-the-clock.

But while they are equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus and protective clothing, what’s killing them is a danger they often can’t see: cancer.

Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn called it an “epidemic.” 

“We’re seeing a lot of younger members in their 40s, early 40s, who’ve got 20 years on the job, who are developing these cancers at a very young age,” Finn told NBC News.

Each month, another three active or just-retired firefighters are diagnosed with cancer. The cancer rate among firefighters is more than twice the rate for Boston residents — and it’s illegal for firefighters in this city to smoke.

At the Dana Farber Cancer Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, firefighter Glenn Preston is being treated for blood cancer.

He’s already had chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. He invited NBC News to his hospital room to talk, but the crew had to wear surgical masks and gloves, swabbing the camera gear down with alcohol to lessen the risk of introducing a virus that could prove fatal to Glenn.

“It’s in the lining of my heart. The tumor’s in the lining of my heart now,” he said.

Married with four children, Preston is just 41 years old and a native Bostonian.

“For me, it’s a passion,” he explained. “Other than God, family, and my country. There’s nothing I love more than being a Boston firefighter.”

In 2002, Preston was among 200 firefighters who responded to a massive inferno at a power plant on the city’s south side. Inside the building, he became separated from his crew as chemicals rained down from the roof, coating his protective turnout gear in a petroleum-jelly-like goo. 

“That’s the most scared I’ve ever been in my life, I think.”

When he finally made it out, his jacket was covered in a slick slime, possibly containing PCBs.

Of the 200 firefighters who responded, a quarter have since been diagnosed with cancer or cardiac ailments, according to the commissioner.

The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters.

While thirty years ago, firefighters were most often diagnosed with asbestos-related cancers, today the cancers are more often leukemialymphoma or myeloma, officials say.

Fire departments in Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Toronto and Calgary all report elevated cancer rates.

The most aggressive cancers were oral, digestive, respiratory and urinary.

Researchers say one big reason for the change is that firefighters today are fighting very different blazes. Modern homes and businesses full of synthetics, plastics and chemicals that can explode much faster and coat firefighters in a toxic soot.

A CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study tracked nearly 30,000 firefighters across the country in 2010 and found higher rates of cancer than the general population.

Congress is currently considering whether to approve the creation of a National Firefighter Cancer Registry — to get a firm handle on the number of deaths.

Now, fire departments nationwide are ordering their men and women to take the danger from chemicals much more seriously. No  longer is a firefighter’s soot-covered face a badge of honor. Departments are buying air tanks that provide oxygen for 45 minutes, rather than the standard 30 minutes.

Incident commanders are ordering firefighters to keep their masks on until they are out of the smoke and washed down by decontamination teams on the scene. And back at the station, firefighters are being told to change into a second set of turnout gear while industrial washing machines clean the dirty equipment.

Finn, a 33-year veteran of the department, has been known to arrive at the scene of a fire and yell at firefighters who take their masks off too soon.

“Sometimes I use colorful language” said Finn. “I’ve buried way too many friends over my 33 years. Too many friends … so I tell them, ‘Think about your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend before you take that mask off your face.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/cancer-biggest-killer-america-s-firefighters-n813411

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MD: Smoke in Cockpit Forces Emergency Landing at Carroll County Airport

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 08:56

CHRISTINA TKACIK ON OCT 26, 2017

Oct. 26–Smoke in the cockpit of an airplane forced an emergency landing Wednesday night at Carroll County Regioal Airport, according to the Westminster Fire Department.

A bird hit the single propeller of a four-person plane carrying three passengers to New Jersey from Roanoke, Va., around 9 p.m., said Lt. Dave Stull of the fire department. The bird then was sucked into the plane’s motor, releasing smoke into the cockpit.

The plane was diverted to Carroll County Regional Airport, where Westminster firefighters responded to the scene.

“They were able to clean the feathers out,” said Stull, adding that the plane “started back up and flew way.”

http://www.aviationpros.com/news/12376944/brief-smoke-in-cockpit-forces-emergency-landing-at-carroll-county-airport

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Air traffic controllers help troubled jet land in Selma

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 08:53

Montgomery Advertiser

MONTGOMERY, ALA.

After a plane experienced pressurization problems which led to a few passengers passing out, Montgomery air traffic controllers helped the stricken aircraft make an emergency landing in Selma.

A PSA Airlines Canadair CRJ-700 flying from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., with 65 passengers and four crew members on board had just reached cruising altitude on June 21 when the crew reported cabin depressurization.

Over the next 25 minutes, as the situation grew more severe, the crew depended on Atlanta-area air traffic controllers in Hampton, Georgia, and others in Montgomery to guide them to safety.

“It’s very important that we all work together, with me and Atlanta, and the pilots working with the first responders, and making sure we are all on the same page,” John Leslie, a recently certified controller in Montgomery, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Leslie, who was assisted by 25-year veteran controller Lee Watson, said: “There’s a lot of moving parts that had to line up in order to get the best possible outcome.”

Atlanta Center initially diverted the flight to Montgomery when the pilot declared the emergency, but when things got worse — the smell of smoke entered the cockpit area — he decided to land the Selma airport, which was 30 miles closer.

Since the airport in Selma does not have air traffic controllers, Montgomery stepped in.

“When things became more distressed with the aircraft, and they had to change it to Selma, you realized that things were kind of compiling on the pilot’s side and the aircraft’s side with the issues that are adding up,” said Leslie.

When the aircraft reached 14,000 feet, a controller at Atlanta Center handed it off to Leslie and Watson.

At Montgomery Tower, the team worked together to get the plane right on course for a safe landing at Selma Airport.

Leslie had “to get the plane down to the airport” in Selma, said John Grablin, air traffic control tower supervisor. “The weather … was not good weather, so the pilot would not have been able to see the airport to visually guide himself down. So Lee is giving John all this pertinent information which John relays to the aircraft. John has got to basically (give) step-by-step to the airport and down on towards the ground.”

Leslie said the controllers have dealt with minor traffic issues in the past, but nothing like what happened in June.

“At this point, as a young controller, I was certified for 60 days when this happened,” he said. “It’s a very high-pressured situation, and you’re really try not to think about the worst case scenarios. You try to focus on providing the best service with the best outcome.”

The most stressful time, he said, was when they lost radar contact with Flight 5599, and the time when they made sure they landed safely. Those two minutes, he said, were hard. The disconnect is normal since the airport doesn’t have its own control tower.

PSA Airlines commended the traffic controllers, along with the first responders in Selma.

“PSA coordinated closely with local authorities in order to ensure the care of our customers and crew,” the company stated in a release. “Customers were bused to Montgomery Regional Airport where they continued on their journey to Washington, D.C., or other connecting destinations.”

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/business/article180779556.html

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Pilot makes emergency landing Tuesday night in Gypsum field; plane comes to rest on its roof

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 08:52

The pilot of a single-engine plane made an emergency landing in a field near Gypsum Creek Road at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, with the plane coming to rest on its roof. The pilot and his passenger sustained only minor injuries, according to a news release from Eagle County.

The pilot told emergency responders that he was attempting to land at nearby Eagle County Regional Airport when the plane lost power. He found an open field in which to land the plane, a 1979 Cessna Centurion that is based out of Eagle. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the plane is registered to Eagle resident Glen Ewing.

Agencies that responded to the crash include Gypsum Fire Protection District, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle County Paramedics, Eagle County Regional Airport, and Vail Public Safety and Communications Center.

http://www.aspentimes.com/news/pilot-makes-emergency-landing-tuesday-night-in-gypsum-field-plane-comes-to-rest-on-its-roof/

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Plane crash training turns into real thing

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 08:50

Paramedics practicing their response to a plane crash have been put to the test at a regional Australian airport when a plane radioed in with a real distress call.

Emergency services were at Albury airport on Wednesday morning (local time), rehearsing their response to a scenario in which a plane skidded off the runway and split in two, when a real plane with 38 people on board came into difficulty.

The Qantas plane, which was headed to the NSW-Victorian border town, managed to land safely 20 minutes after the alarm was raised.

“We were extremely pleased with the result … we even had a NSW Ambulance chaplain on scene to speak to passengers as they came off the plane,” NSW Ambulance Inspector Rod Hannan said in a statement.

A QantasLink spokesman said the pilot of the plane had chosen to shut off one of the engines due to an issue related to oil pressure in the engine.

“The aircraft can safely fly under the power of one engine,” the spokesman said in a statement to AAP on Wednesday.

“The aircraft landed safely and before the passengers left the aircraft, the captain explained what occurred.”

The spokesman said having emergency services on stand-by in such situations is “standard procedure”.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/travel-troubles/98241808/.html

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Thu, 10/26/2017 - 08:49

28 Years ago today: On 26 October 1989 a China Airlines Boeing 737 flew into the side of a mountain when the crew used the wrong climbout procedure from Hualien, Taiwan, all 54 occupants were killed.

Date: Thursday 26 October 1989 Time: 18:55 Type: Boeing 737-209 Operator: China Airlines Registration: B-180 C/n / msn: 23795/1319 First flight: 1986-12-03 (2 years 11 months) Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A Crew: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7 Passengers: Fatalities: 47 / Occupants: 47 Total: Fatalities: 54 / Occupants: 54 Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair Location: 5,5 km (3.4 mls) N of Hualien Airport (HUN) (   Taiwan) Phase: En route (ENR) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Hualien Airport (HUN/RCYU), Taiwan Destination airport: Taipei-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport (TPE/RCTP), Taiwan Flightnumber: 204

Narrative:
Flight CI204 collided with a mountain in the Chiashan mountain range at an elevation of 7000 feet, 3 minutes after takeoff.

Probable Cause

PROBABLE CAUSE: The crew used the climbout procedure of the wrong runway, causing the aircraft to make a left instead of right turn.

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Two injured after helicopter crashes into lake

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:21

by Matt Markovich, KOMO

ARLINGTON, Wash. (KOMO) – Two people were injured when a helicopter crashed into a Snohomish County lake on Tuesday afternoon.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office dive team headed to the scene, about five miles southeast of Arlington at King Lake, at 1:15 p.m. after receiving a report of a helicopter crash with two people on board. 

The Sheriff’s Office said it got reports that the helicopter had been up for 60 to 90 seconds when witnesses heard unusual noises.

Jeffrey Abrams told KOMO News that he watched the helicopter fly 6 to 10 feet above King Lake. Then the skids hit the lake, and the helicopter nose dived into the water, he said.

“It was a significant loud bang, almost like an explosion.”

He asked his wife to call 911 and ran to get his oars for his small boat.

 

The helicopter had already gone under.

“I started to row,” Abrams said. “I just wanted to save those two men.”

Abrams said he knows both the pilot and his passenger.

One man, the passenger, was swimming toward a log, and the pilot was just floating face-down in the water..

He picked up the floating pilot and eventually hooked him to the front of the boat.

The passenger also got into the boat.

As Abrams was rowing to shore, emergency crews arrived and began CPR on the man who was floating, he said.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s officials said both victims were eventually taken to a local hospital — the pilot in critical condition; the passenger in serious but stable condition.

 

An oil sheen also could be seen spreading across the lake from the submerged wreckage of the helicopter.

There is no word yet what led up to the crash.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are at the scene of the crash. The agency expects the helicopter to remain in the lake over night.

The state Ecology Department is on hand to deal with fuel spills.

http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/two-injured-after-helicopter-crashes-into-lake

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Winds toss planes and cars, damages hangar at Hickory Regional Airport

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:17

JONELLE BOBAK Staff Writer

HICKORY— The Hickory Regional Airport received the brunt of a storm that ripped through the eastern part of Burke County with what some said were 100 mph winds. 

Around 4:45 p.m., several reports were made of tornado touchdowns across multiple different counties in the foothills.

It is undetermined if a tornado made a landing at the airport, but the powerful winds left a large mark and destroyed multiple hangers and damaged up to eight different privately owned airplanes.

Rick Foster, of Hickory, has stored his Piper Comanche airplane at the Hickory Regional Airport for eight years and has never encountered weather like this.

“I was back at my house making sure everything was okay (because it is) just 5 miles south of town,” Foster said. “When we heard on a Facebook post that something had hit the airport, I said, ‘let’s ride up there and see.’”

When Foster reached the hanger, he was in disbelief. He knew there was damage, but not to the extent that he soon would realize.

“It was breathtaking to walk up over the hill and see it,” he said. “I just knew there was some damage … I just thought it would blow a couple airplanes around and then I saw this whole hanger destroyed.”

Miraculously, his Piper Comanche was not touched. He was able to enter the part of the hanger his plane was in to find it just as he had left it.

“How lucky we are,” Foster said.

Foster is determined that the damage was caused by a tornado.

Tornadoes were reported in several different parts of the foothills, but the National Weather Service had not confirmed any touchdown as of Monday night. The NWS generally evaluates an area days after a storm to determine if it was a tornado and what level it measured on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

There were up to eight planes inside the hanger with a majority of them being damaged, said Sarah Prencipe, communications specialists with the city of Hickory. The airport is owned by the city of Hickory. 

There were no injuries reported after the high winds came through, she said.

“Which is amazing and the most important thing,” Prencipe said.

Prencipe said, to her knowledge, the damage to the hangers should not affect flights coming into and leaving the airport.

“Our risk manager has called our insurance companies and put them on notice and will be working more with them tomorrow, but they have been made aware,” she said. “We are working now to notify the plane owners.”

Hickory Fire Department, Catawba County EMS and Duke Energy were on scene evaluating and cleaning up the damage.

http://www.morganton.com/news/winds-toss-planes-and-cars-damage-hangar-at-hickory-regional/article_e41e1114-b85e-11e7-aac1-4f5a7838bfc9.html

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Air Canada Crew Fails To Respond To SFO Tower

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:15

By Mary Grady

Air Canada got a lot of publicity last summer after an A320 nearly landed on a taxiway full of airplanes, instead of the runway, at San Francisco International Airport, and this week the airline is back in the news for another event at the same field. On tower audio from about 9:30 Sunday night, provided by ATCLive.net, a controller can be heard repeatedly telling an Air Canada A320 crew to go around, and getting only silence. A tower supervisor used a flashing red light gun to try to alert the crew to abort the landing. After about two minutes, the crew responded, saying they had radio trouble. “That’s pretty evident,” the controller says. The six go-around requests were prompted by concerns that another jet might not have cleared the runway yet, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

“Upon landing, the crew was informed the tower had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft, however the message was not received by the crew,” said Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “Air Canada is investigating the circumstances.” Radar records showed the runway was clear when the jet touched down safely on Runway 28R at 9:26 p.m. The crew was completing a six-hour flight from Montreal. The FAA is also investigating the incident.

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Hollywood Burbank Airport opts to not reduce firefighter staffing

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:14

By Anthony Clark Carpio 

Hollywood Burbank Airport officials recently decided to not reduce its aircraft rescue-and-firefighting services after finalizing a labor agreement with its in-house fire department.

Members from various firefighter unions throughout the state have approached the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority since its decision in June to reduce the minimum number of on-duty fire personnel at the airport from five firefighters and one captain to three firefighters and one captain.

“The firefighters have ratified their contract, which addresses pay and no decrease in staffing levels for the next three years,” said Rachael Warecki, a spokeswoman for the airport. “The current levels would remain the same through the term of the contract.”

Brian Rice, a field representative for District 10 of the International Assn. of Fire Fighters who was involved in the labor negotiation process, addressed authority members earlier this month and told them that a reduction in staffing levels would be detrimental to the airport.

“Reduce the firefighters here to four [people], you effectively have agreed to an ineffective firefighting force,” Rice said.

Hollywood Burbank has been operating with five firefighters and one captain since 2015. However, airport staff earlier this year opted to reduce staffing levels because they believed the same level of service would be achievable with fewer personnel.

Index C airports like Hollywood Burbank are required to have a minimum of two firefighters and one captain, according to Federal Aviation Administration standards.

http://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/news/la-slug-tn-blr-me-airport-firefighter-20171025-story.html

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Foam spill at Albany airport could cost ‘millions,’ sheriff says

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:13

COLONIE – A fire suppression system at Commutair malfunctioned Tuesday afternoon, spewing tons of foam throughout the hangar area of the Albany International Airport, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

Mountains of foam blanketed the area around 4 p.m., likely causing millions of dollars in damage, the sheriff said.

Photos of the scene made it look like that part of the airport was hit with a severe snow storm.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation was en route to the airport around 7 p.m., Apple said.

While the spill is not considered toxic, the foam is an eye irritant, he said.

“It’s a big, big mess,” Apple said.

http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Fire-supression-foam-lets-loose-at-airport-12303557.php

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 10/25/2017 - 09:11

49 Years ago today: On 25 October 1968 a Northeast Airlines Fairchild FH-227 struck Moose Mountain, NH, USA killing 32 out of 42 occupants.

Date: Friday 25 October 1968 Time: ca 18:10 Type: Fairchild FH-227C Operator: Northeast Airlines Registration: N380NE C/n / msn: 517 First flight: 1966 Total airframe hrs: 3828 Engines:Rolls-Royce Dart 532-7 Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3 Passengers: Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 39 Total: Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 42 Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair Location: Moose Mountain, NH (   United States of America) Phase: Approach (APR) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Boston-Logan International Airport, MA (BOS/KBOS), United States of America Destination airport: Lebanon Regional Airport, NH (LEB/KLEB), United States of America Flightnumber: 946

Narrative:
Northeast Airlines Flight 946 departed Boston 17:42 for a flight to Lebanon, NH and Montpelier, VT. The Fairchild climbed to a cruising altitude of 8000 feet. At 18:08 the crew were cleared for an approach to the Lebanon Airport to cruise at 5,000 feet and report leaving 6,000 feet. At 18:10:45, the controller advised the crew that radar service had been terminated and the flight was cleared to contact the Lebanon Flight Service Station (FSS). One minute later the FSS told the crew that the weather was an estimated ceiling of 2,000 feet overcast; visibility was 10 miles; there were breaks in the overcast; the altimeter setting was 29:55; and the wind was calm.
The flight did not perform the published instrument approach procedure but executed an abbreviated approach by making a right turn from their northwesterly heading and then a left turn back to intercept the inbound radial to the VOR station. The inbound radial was intercepted at approximately 8 to 10 miles northeast of the VOR station where it passed through an altitude of about 4500 feet. The crew began the descent but did not level off at 2,800 feet m.s.l., the minimum altitude inbound to the VOR. During the approach to runway 25 the airplane contacted trees on the cloud-shrouded side of a steep, rocky, heavily wooded mountain 57 feet below the summit at 2,237 feet m.s.l. The aircraft cut a swath trough the trees broke up and caught fire.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The premature initiation of a descent towards the Minimum Descent Altitude, based on navigational instrument indications of an impending station passage in an area of course roughness. The crew was not able to determine accurately its position at this time because they had performed a non standard instrument approach and there were no supplement navigational aids available for their use.”

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