Airplane emergencies can be some of the most difficult for first responders, because they're hard to prepare for. Most of the time, firefighters can only practice in old buses and pretend they're planes. But as YNN's Katie Morse tells us, that's about to change in Western New York.
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — It was the final flight for one FedEx Boeing 727 Wednesday morning. The plane was given a grand welcome as FedEx turned the keys over to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to use it for training.
"Our plan is to do run ups with it, to smoke it up with Hollywood smoke - we're not gonna burn it," said Capt. William Major from the Buffalo Airport Fire Dept. "We'll put victims in it, we'll extricate the victims from that. On the police side of it, they're gonna use it for their SWAT teams, for their drug dogs."
The plane came after NFTA firefighter Brian Powers put in an application for FedEx's donation program. The company donates planes it's phasing out of its fleet, and Powers said it's something Western New York needed.
"I think ever since 3407 the guys kind of realized we need something that's more of a hands-on, real life tool for us," Powers explained.
The plan is to take the plane and split it up. Part of it will look like a cargo plane, and part of it will look like a passenger plane so they can practice on both. Something the firefighters are really excited about is the fact that this plane has different kinds of doors that they can practice opening in case of an emergency.
"The aircraft can be fully consumed by the jet fuel in seconds. 90 seconds to two minutes. So if we have those extra seconds that we can save, I can't tell you what it would do, but we'd like to think that it would do a lot," said Powers.
The 33-year-old plane will be used by emergency crews from all across the area. It's the 59th airplane donated by FedEx since 1995.