IAFF looks forward to improved fire fighting standards and better safety at U.S. airports
International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger today released this statement on passage of H.R. 915 by the U.S. House of Representatives. With passage of the FAA Reauthorization, the Federal Aviation Administration will be required to update current aircraft rescue and fire fighting standards and the safety of the flying public will be vastly improved:
"The flying public deserves to see improvement in the lax safety standards that exist at U.S. airports, and passage of the FAA Reauthorization ensures that will happen.
"Fire protection at airports today is shockingly deficient because standards are outdated, so we proposed updating current airport fire protection standards to better protect the flying public and address some of the shortcomings that have festered at our nation's increasingly busy airports.
"Fire fighters want the FAA to update airport fire protection standards in consultation with stakeholders, including representatives of airports and the fire service. The FAA will be able to determine what effect improved standards would have on airports and gauge whether new standards would increase costs. The FAA will have the authority to determine the appropriateness of using enhanced standards. The bill takes particular care to ensure that this provision does not burden airports.
"The current FAA safety standard is nothing short of dangerous. Under current standards, flight crews are charged with aircraft fire fighting and passenger rescue. Those standards require fire fighters to remain outside a burning airplane and clear a path for any passenger lucky enough to escape.
"Airport fire protection standards must be updated. By passing this important legislation today, lawmakers are taking a significant step towards improving the safety of the millions of passengers who fly each day."
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