Letter: Reno airport officials missing the point

Once again, I am amazed to witness self-centered interest at work with the managers of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport. I am speaking of the proposed layoffs of firefighters who are stationed at Reno Airport's runway station while the managers give themselves raises and travel perks.

It is obvious that the managers of the airport are unconcerned about the safety of the flying public. They are quick to point out that the FAA requires that 3,000 gallons of foam be present at the site of a crash. What the airport managers are conveniently overlooking is that it takes people trained and drilled in the art of aircraft fire fighting to remove victims from airplane crashes.

Equipment is of little use without people to enter a crashed aircraft and remove the passengers as quickly as possible. The airport managers are proposing that only two fire fighters should be available for aircraft entry. This "two-in" approach shows a lack of concern for the lives of the flying public. How many people fly on the aircraft that land at the Reno airport? Hundreds!

The airport managers claim that they can rely on the response of the Reno Fire Department to save the day. On a good day, it would take a minimum of five to ten minutes for a Reno Fire Engine to respond to and maneuver the engine onto a runway. Would you like to be trapped in a burning airplane for 10 minutes until help arrives? Or would you rather like a trained and equipped rescuer to arrive almost instantly if you were in a crashed airplane?

Airport Director Bart herself pointed out that management's perks and travel allowance raises amount to over $266,000 for next fiscal year.

The double-talk that the airport managers are giving to Airport Fire Chief McCorkle's assertion that safety is at risk to the flying public do nothing to ensure public safety. Listen here, airport managers - give yourselves one less raise and sacrifice extra business junkets in the interest of safety for our citizens and tourists.




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