by Gary Petersen, former SQL Airport Manager
It might surprise you to know that some Airport Tenants have questioned the purchase of new airport fire trucks. The implication is that this is a misuse of funds that serves no real purpose.
One obvious reason we have these trucks is for your safety and protection. None of the trucks we have had were ever required by Federal Law. We understand though that the first few minutes in any fire are critical to the survival of those involved. When an accident or incident occurs at our airports we are the first ones there and we want to be prepared for the situation. On several occasions staff has extinguished small fires that could have escalated into serious situations.
Secondarily we use our trucks as tools, we tow aircraft, pull trailers, provide transportation, and clean up some pretty nasty messes using our vehicles. We are always committed to providing staff the right tools for the right job our new trucks are the right tool.
It is also important to understand that over the past twenty years our trucks have had an average life span of ten years. We take care of our equipment and we make it last.
Above all though it is about having a fire truck when you need a fire truck. On a recent afternoon in July someone ran into the Airport Office and reported smoke in the Sky Kitchen Restaurant. We looked through the door and saw the kitchen area black with smoke and orange with flame. Just as we opened the door the fire protection system went off in the kitchen but failed to extinguish the flame. Airport Staff emptied two dry chemical extinguishers on the fire but that also failed to put out the fire. With the fire department still several minutes away we decided to use the fire truck. The truck worked perfectly and we were able to stop the fire before it caused structural damage to the restaurant.
For us it was simple. The truck was there we saved the restaurant and the building. Same thing would happen with an airplane. We think that when you consider it from that perspective our trucks make a very wise investment.