Sea-Tac Airport firefighters using this week to train for the worst

Sea-Tac Airport firefighters using this week to train for the worst »Play Video
SEA-TAC AIRPORT, Wash. -- Firefighters responded to a giant jumbo jet on a runway at Sea-Tac Airport Wednesday -- it wasn't an emergency, although crews acted like it was, to train for the worst.

"We don't have accidents very often, but when we do, it's learning as much as we can from San Francisco and the response team there," said Chief Randy Krause with the Port of Seattle.

Since the crash landing of a flight in San Francisco earlier this month, many eyes have turned toward aviation safety. Their airport is similar in size to Sea-Tac, so Wednesday's drill -- planned before the crash of Asiana Flight 214 -- took on added significance. Especially after reports indicated one person was killed after an emergency vehicle drove over her.

"With so many people getting off the plane and emergency responders coming to the scene with debris and people running in all different directions, I could see it happen," Krause said.

Wednesday's drill took that into account. A team of fire crews responded to an alarm, drove across an airfield to rescue passengers in a so-called emergency. Even passengers were pulled from plane; lifeless dummies, rescued on a runway.

Firefighter Thomas Sanchez has been doing this for 33 years, and says during each drill he learns something new.

"The shell of an aircraft can burn through in minutes to seconds," Sanchez said. "You have to be pretty quick."

A quick lesson in emergency training is to be prepared for the worst real-life scenario.

"It doesn't happen often," Krause said. "So it's through preparation and daily training that we are able to do what we do."

Firefighters here can use infrared cameras to find passengers in dark, smoky conditions.

Two more drills like this are scheduled daily between through Friday.