Some not very busy airports can have no even a minor incident for years and accident probably won't happen in a major airport during several decades. Training of course is done sometimes. I don't know how often though. This has to be the most boring or the best job if you wan't nothing to do. I think you can spend all your career without putting out single real fire or doing real rescue. So what do firefighters do day to day?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I knew a, municipal in a small town, not airport, firefighter and he spent a lot of time organizing various things. Because they indeed had a plenty of time sitting around the station and doing whatever they wanted with the only limit that they had to be in the fire engines in 30 seconds if the alarm sounded. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jan 25, 2016 at 13:13
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Spray water cannons over aircraft with retiring Captains. That keeps them busy a lot. :) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_salute $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 14:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann Yes. That too. Although not sure what exactly they spray when an air traffic controller retires. Apparently Wikipedia says for them too. Mighty hard to reach the ATC Windows I suppose, eh? $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 14:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @curious_cat Maybe they just spray the controller directly when he walks out of the tower? $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 25, 2016 at 22:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @reirab Yeah, after that, I think the controllers' union is opting out of the salute.:) $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2016 at 2:41

2 Answers 2


Calling them "firefighters" is accurate but they can respond to all sorts of incidents, not just fires (in the USA, even outside airports it's common for firefighters to respond to purely medical emergencies). On top of that, there's also training, maintenance and keeping physically fit.

This is from a firefighter at Hobart Airport in Australia:

The aviation firefighters do more than wait for airplane fires, they also attend to other incidents, such as motor vehicle accidents, fuel spills, hazardous material incidents and first-aid in the terminal.


"A lot of our working day is routine and there are different types of things that we need do every day regarding our equipment, servicing all of our equipment, checking it over ...," he said.

And this is from one at Heathrow:

We don’t really have an average day. We attend to all sorts of incidents. We attend to anything that is life-threating at the airport or on the roads around it; this could include a heart attack air or land-side, a drug mule incident where a passenger has transported drugs within their body and has ended up in a serious condition, or a car crash that we have to cut a victim out of.

We all have set duties to do every day and night including practical and theoretical training, testing and inspections, and cleaning of vehicles and equipment. The crews have to keep physically fit so we give them time for physical training and provide facilities to do this.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ But how much they can attend other incidents? Most of the crew has to be ready on standby because if they are busy and not available airport cannot accept aircrafts and has to close until emergency services are ready for standby again. $\endgroup$
    – Andrius
    Jan 27, 2016 at 20:00

a lot of the small regional airports where I live in france have the firefighters doing a multi task job. they handle baggage,fuel aircraft drive the vehicle with the steps to the aircraft and other jobs.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.