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EVERETT -- Firefighters at Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport have received national honors for making sure safety remained a priority as commercial passenger flights began here earlier this year.
The Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Working Group gave the Merit Awards to Paine Field firefighters and their chief, Brian McMahan. The honors were presented Monday, Sept. 9, during the group’s 30th annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The awards recognize performance of “an act of public service and whose efforts displayed superior intelligence in an unusual circumstance of stress and or danger.”
McMahan and others at the fire department were honored for their initiative in developing and implementing a plan to upgrade the department’s ability to provide emergency service at the level necessary to safely support commercial flights at Paine Field.
The work involved making the case that the county-owned airport needed to substantially increase fire department staffing, followed by recruiting and training the necessary firefighters.
“Fire Chief McMahan and the Paine Field firefighters worked diligently to build commercial ARFF (aircraft rescue and firefighting) at Paine Field from the ground up,” the conference was told.
Firefighters at Paine Field are specially trained and equipped to respond to aircraft accidents, in addition to more routine medical emergencies and fire calls.