DSM Airport Ready For Worst Case Scenario - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

DSM Airport Ready For Worst Case Scenario

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By: Claire Powell
Email: cpowell@myabc5.com
Twitter: clairenpowell

In light of the plane crash over the weekend in San Francisco, we wanted to talk to the Des Moines Airport about their crash safety procedures.

The Des Moines International Airport always has a team of specially trained firefighters on the ground in case something goes wrong in the air. 

Twenty-six firefighters are stationed no more than one hundred yards from the Des Moines runways.

"Yeah, most likely we'd be the first ones on scene, a lot of things happen, it depends on the type of aircraft emergency," said Marty Smith, Chief of 132nd Fire Department. 

If they are alerted, fire trucks will surround the runway and wait for the aircraft to land and then take action.

"We want it to land safely, if not then each driver–operator of the airport fire trucks will respond directly to the location," said Smith.

"Because you train for it all the time, but you hope it never really happens," said Kyle Brown, a firefighter.

Their fire trucks are different than the city of Des Moines. They are higher off of the ground, faster and they can carry 1,500 gallons of water.

"These fire trucks are able to drive and spray water at the same time so we're discharging our agent as we're driving," said Smith.

"You always have to be training for something because you never know what you're going to get out here," said Brown.

The Des Moines and Polk County Fire Departments are on call, but no one can get there as fast as the airport fire crew.

"We have three minutes to be able to get to that aircraft, and start putting water on it. It could be all the way down at the end of the runway and once we're notified, three minutes to put on our firefighting gear, start the trucks and drive directly to the incident site," said Smith.

The crew practices their major disaster plans once every three years and minor crash plans annually.

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