I started out yesterday like any other day. I was getting ready to take my son to pre-school when one of my probies sent me a text message that read "Damn man. Are you listening to your radio?" I never listen to my radio or scanner unless we have severe weather comming. Other than that it's usually turned down and my portable radio is off. So I replied with "No. What's up?" Before he could answer I turned my pager to scan and heard all hell breaking loose. There was a small, single engine aircraft in distress and was being escorted by 2 F-16s. I turned my portable on and proceeded to take my son to school. There was alot of radio traffic. Dispatch couldn't tone someone out if they wanted to. Finally after about 45 mins. of listening to the departments in the north side of the county chasing this plane all over the place, it came down in a corn field outside of Albany IN. The pilot had apparently suffered from hypoxia, which if you don't know means he didn't have enough oxygen and passed out. He was on his way from point A in Michigan to point B in Michigan. This is the first time I have ever heard radio traffic like this. If anyone else has had to deal with this, could I get some pointers on how to make it run as smoothly as possible just in case we have to go through it?

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For starters the departments should have been on a tactical channel and not on dispatch. Not sure why the fire department personnel were chasing a plane around as there was nothing they could do until it crashed.
That was due to a dept. Cheif who thinks he is the county wide Cheif.
HAHA..... I haven't seen that with a Chief, but I have seen that with a few firefighters. Point is that he was hindering the ability for the rest of the county to respond to other incidents and additionally he was wasting gas.
I agree. The thing is, his dept. took over the airport fire dept. a couple of years ago. I can partially understand his response but he put the whole county on stand-by and then started releasing them 1 by 1 as the plane got closer to the crash site. He had direct contact with the tower on another radio and yet he still took up all of the main dispatch channel.
#1. the cheif needs to be talked to
#2. Contact your County or State Law Enforcement Agency and have them chase the plane, heck they are driving around all day anyway.
#3. TAC CHANNEL!!!!!!!!!

Never gone through it, but this is our protocall. We sit and wait, we dont give up apparatus to chase a plane.
Here is what we do in LAFD. Every Station/Apparatus gets a Tone and Notice of a low flying plane and its most up to date location. (then every 10 minutes an update of location and alltitude) Next, California Highway Patrol (CHP) comes in with one of their planes to follow it, or the National Guard does with the jets. Then CHP puts 2 ground units on it. When it finaly does come down, the closest Fire Stations are dispatched.
Plane and simple.
This is all communicated and arranged by CHP and (if in LAFD area) the closest Division Cheif. Its all done on one of our ZULU channels (i think thats what they are called), which is an Emergency Only Inter-Agency Chanel. CHP, LAPD, LASD, LAcoFD, LAFD, Air Traffic Control (LAX, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Burbank Airports), Culver City FD/PD, Beverly Hills FD/PD, Santa Monica PD (LAFd handels there FD), CALIF. Dept Foresty FD, and a few others all have access to these channels. We made them after 9/11 since there were threats of attacks on Downtown Los Angeles.

You should try to find out about making these types of channels.
If this happence again, get on the radio and say "Cheif, please move to a TAC Channel."
oh, and let your local PD handle the chase.
About a dozen years ago we had a report of an "airplane crash" on the north edge of town and it turned into complete chaos.

For one there was serious problems with knowing who was in charge. The town marshal? County officers? The sheriff? The fire chief?

We then had total confusion on what "type" of plane it was. Are we talking about a small single engine plane? A 747? Maybe one of those F16's that fly over all of the time? Having that type of information up front is a critical element.

Then a lot of finger pointing after the incident started about who set up the scene tape, this officer drove too fast, that firefighter rushed in not thinking, yadda yadda.

The entire incident was actually very minor and I think the pilot was just transported as an A-, but I think there are a few things we learned from this.

#1 - Firefighters need to be first in to put out any fire and execute any extrication if needed at which time police need to be helping with any crowd control
#2 - After the scene is considered secure and safe police should take over the rest of the security and firefighters back off
#3 - Wait for the FAA to show (if needed) and then the ball is entirely in their court

~Chris
Fire Dept. Web Design

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