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Eastern Iowa Airport Prepared for Emergency Situations

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -

The gear is almost the same, the truck may be a little louder, and the stakes are often much higher.

 

However, the objective for firefighters at the Eastern Iowa Airport is no different than any other firefighter.

 

"Get there, get the problem resolved, get the fire out, and get those people out of the plane as quick as possible," airport firefighter Derek Miller said.

 

Miller says airplane emergencies present their own set of challenges.

 

"You are a lot more confined in an aircraft, so that really presents a challenge to you as a rescuer and also dealing with passengers, luggage, things that might be in the cabin."

 

It's what responders has to deal with in San Francisco on Saturday.

 

"Aircraft rescue firefighters that were on scene there responded quickly and were able to contain the situation before it got out of hand," Miller said.

 

Here at Eastern Iowa Airport, the planes that fly out and land are usually smaller, so the chances of an accident the size of San Francisco are unlikely. The airport has has had it's own challenges in the past, couple of years, however.

 

"We've had a small aircraft come in and the landing gear didn't get down, we had another commercial come in that was getting smoke in the cabin," said Public Safety Commander Kenneth Washburn .

 

With a crew of 12, 2 high capacity trucks, and backup from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department only minutes away, they're prepared to withstand the pressure - which isn't just coming from their hose.

 

"This a line of work that pressure comes with it every day, you're always thinking 'what if, what if'," Miller said.

 

FAA rules require a drill at the airport to practice emergency scenarios every three years.

The last drill was in 2011, so the airport is due for another one next year.

 
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