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May 16, 2015 10:46 PM

Preparing for plane fires part of the training at NH academy


CONCORD - At the NH Fire Academy, about a dozen Army Reservists trained Saturday - focusing on how to extinguish fires on and near a commercial aircraft.

The training is part of ARFF training, which is offered to hundreds of firefighters annually at the academy and led by Program Coordinator Ted Starkweather.

"We were simulating there was a fuel spill underneath an aircraft," Starkweather said.

Training participants come from across the United States and Canada, and classes vary each weekend.

Today's trainees were Army Reservists from Massachusetts.

"Everyone we have in the unit here - they all like firefighting," said Staff Sgt. Ian Kurtinitis.

One of the missions today was to extinguish the flames near the aircraft, and establish a rescue path that - in a real situation - would allow a safe escape for any passengers still inside.

"I like training," Starkweather said.

Starkweather was a firefighter for more than 50 years. He retired from the daily calls about ten years ago and now works with firefighters from across the country.

Many come here to get certified in aircraft fire rescue. He says that although equipment and rescue vehicles have changed over the years, his passion has stayed the same.

"Early on I discovered that this was a job that somebody could get hurt or killed," Starkweather said. "I go about it with the idea that if my efforts could save somebody, then I've done a good job."


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