Preparing for a Disaster

AVOCA — Preparing for the worst but hoping it never happens, that’s what dozens of firefighters did on Thursday and Friday at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Firefighters took part in a training exercise, putting out a fire in an airplane simulator.

The airplane fire is not real, but it’s the closest thing to an actual emergency many of the firefighters will ever see.

This training takes place once a year, in the summer, at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

“One of the hardest jobs is when the rescue crews enter the airplane and rescue the mannequin, 150 pound mannequin, under heat conditions, smoke conditions in the fuselage of the aircraft,” said Jim Butler, a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport firefighter.

Crews from airports in Binghamton, Bradford, and Reading, and firefighters from the Hughestown Fire Department also took part in the training.

“Kind of gives you the security, I`d say, knowing that we are all trained and getting trained at least so we have a better understanding of what we are doing. It`s my second time up here and it seems a little more comfortable now,” said Josh Houghtlin of the Hughestown Fire Department.

“Gear like this is able to absorb the heat and you can get a little closer. With regular turnout gear you can get moisture. You can fight a fire but this is what this type of gear is designed for,” said Dave Hill, a Greater Binghamton Airport firefighter.

Firefighters said even though they hope they never have to respond to that type of scene, it’s good to be prepared.