Panel Finds Airport Fire Departments Inadequate

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A working group that has been studying FAA standards for airport fire departments has found they are inadequate to save lives and to deal with the searing flames that occur in plane crashes, USA Today reported yesterday. The FAA working group, formed three years ago, says many airports need more fire trucks and more flame-retardant foam. The fire departments also should improve their response times in reaching downed aircraft and train firefighters to go into burning jets to get passengers out, the group says, according to USA Today. The NTSB has cited poor fire response as factors in contributing to deaths in several accidents, the newspaper said, including the American Airlines crash at Little Rock in 1999.