Tampa Fire Rescue will be conducting live fire training at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday, January 17, at 5 p.m. , an exercise that will include flames up to 40 feet in the air.
The Tampa Fire Rescue Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Division (ARFF) will lead the exercise.
This type of fire is unlike most others Tampa firefighters face because it is produced by jet fuel. The exercise is done at night to reduce concern due to the large plumes of black smoke the fire sends into the air. However, the nighttime visuals are dramatic. Onlookers often report seeing a large “fireball” from many miles away. Tampa Fire Rescue is asking the public not to be alarmed if a large amount of smoke is seen in the area of Tampa International Airport on Wednesday night. The fire should start at approximately 6:30 p.m.
The firefighters train with a metal frame with wings that is placed inside a pit along with jet fuel to simulate an aircraft emergency. This exercise is part of a 40-hour certification class that involves one live-fire training scenario. Firefighters completing this exercise will become alternates for staffing at the ARFF station located at Tampa International Airport. ARFF Firefighters are required to re-certify in live burn exercises annually.
Tampa International Airport also facilitates outside airports to complete this annual training with Tampa Fire Rescue. Members of the St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport will be in attendance to complete their annual re-certification.
Tampa Fire Rescue assigns 45 personnel to the ARFF station, including the airport division chief, a trainer/educator, and one administrative assistant. There are 30 alternate firefighters.
Parking is available at the ARFF station located on 3911 Bessie Coleman Blvd., Tampa 33607. Parking is extremely limited. Media representatives are asked to carpool if possible.
Due to this training occurring in a secure area, all media wanting to attend must RSVP in order to be allowed at the training exercise. Media arriving without an RSVP will not be allowed to attend the exercise.
All vehicles that do not have a Tampa International Airport permit will go through a security sweep by TPAPD along with their bomb-sniffing K9s.
RSVP to: Vivian Shedd, Tampa Fire Rescue PIO, by email at TFR-PIO@tampagov.net.
5:00pm – availability for interviews with Tampa Fire Rescue Airport Division Chief Jim Billotte
5:30pm – firefighter safety briefing (media will be able to record for b-roll)
6:00pm – Caravan to training area via Airport Operations Team
6:15pm – Arrival at training pit
6:30pm – Live Fire Training Exercise
7:30pm – Caravan departure to Airport Fire Station via Airport Operations Team
This media event is also being presented by Tampa International Airport. Any questions regarding TPA can be directed to: Communications@tampaairport.com.