VIDEO: Nick Palmer Talks “Aircraft Down and You Are First Due”

By Derek Rosenfeld

After an emotional opening ceremony kicked off Wednesday sessions at FDIC International 2016, classroom sessions commenced with another interesting and informative round of interactive fire service discussions.

Among them was Haughton (LA) Fire Department Firefighter Nick Palmer’s Aircraft Down and You Are First Due, which brought high-risk, low frequency to a new level.

“I began my career as an airport fire fighter in the Air Force in 1996 and became intimately familiar with many various aircraft and the dangers associated with them,” Palmer said.

“As my career progressed towards the municipal side, I realized that there was very little awareness towards accidents involving aircraft and even fewer training opportunities. As an instructor with LSU Fire & Emergency Training Institute, I began to get more and more requests for this type of training and thought it an important thing to share with the rest of the fire service.”

Here, Palmer covers the dangers of the propellers, carcinogens, and metals first responders may face after an aircraft crash:


Next, Palmer talks about the issues first responders may have with the craft’s wheels and what you should do if you are dealing with a military aircraft carrying munitions:


Here, Palmer looks back at an infamous aircraft crash that occurred in Indianapolis that killed 11 to make a greater point about responders can’t do when an aircraft goes down:


He continued, “Even though there is very little attention paid to municipal response to aircraft emergencies, the threat is real one. Thousands of accidents occur each year and very few responders are prepared for that possibility. This is most definitely a High Risk/Low Frequency event that deserves attention.

“Aircraft Down in your District is not only a class about aircraft, but also touches on strategies and tactics, prioritizing resources, and fire fighter safety.”

On FDIC International, Palmer said, “This will be my eighth year attending FDIC. It has become a ‘must do’ for me each year, mostly for the H.O.T. training, networking opportunities, and brotherhood.

Palmer concluded, “The one glaring factor that I would like to see everyone take away from my class is that when the unexpected becomes a reality, you have to be prepared for it. If you aren’t, the incident will control your actions as a responder and not the other way around.”

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