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Dramatic plane fire staged in firefighter training exercise

Firefighters tackle plane fire in training scenario

A plane fuselage at a college campus in Kettering became the setting of a training exercise in which firefighters dealt with the aftermath of an emergency landing.

This week Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) took part in an annual exercise at Tresham College in Kettering, to work with students in developing skills with which to handle this dramatic scenario.

Students involved included those from various disciplines such as Travel and Tourism, Uniformed Public Services and Drama courses.

With a plane full of synthetic smoke, as well as casualties to rescue, this was a demanding exercise for firefighters from Desborough, Rothwell and Kettering stations as they practised responding to a rare set of circumstances.

The challenge was to evacuate the fuselage, rehearsing their procedures for dealing with large aircraft. It was also a good opportunity to go through methods of search and rescue while using breathing apparatus in smoke and darkness.

Students also played a key role in responding to this staged scenario, benefitting from the chance to learn more about the work of the emergency services. Taking part in the exercise also helped students complete assessments as part of their course and will ultimately aid in them gaining a qualification in Cabin Crew.

Lucy Skipper, lecturer in Travel and Tourism at Tresham College said: “This annual training event is a fantastic live action opportunity to gain experience in the roles and responsibilities for those wanting to pursue a career as cabin crew. Having our own aircraft on campus is a great training tool, but being able to work with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service in a 999 exercise is an added bonus in terms of real life work experience.

“It allows learners to gain real life, hands on experience in what an emergency evacuation would feel like and, having the facilities that the fire service bring, does make this as real as possible. The learners are given individual roles for the training exercise and therefore this further enhances their experience and levels of responsibility. Seeing how the fire service also respond to the evacuation is a great way for them to understand how services work together and what actions are taken during these types of emergencies.”

NFRS Watch Manager Garry Hodgkins said: “We were pleased to be back at Tresham College once again this year to make use of the valuable training ground of an aircraft fuselage to help us practise some important firefighting and evacuation techniques.

“As ever, we were proud to be working alongside the college’s students from various different courses who each offered plenty of enthusiasm and some different insights into approaching a thankfully unusual emergency situation. They impressed us with the professionalism they showed in dealing with a busy and demanding scenario.”

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