First Responder Safety at a Small Aircraft or Helicopter Accident

As small aircraft and helicopters have become more complex, technology has provided systems that have enhanced operational safety. In the event of an accident, many of these systems have presented additional hazards to first responders or any potential rescuer at an aircraft accident scene. The FAA, in cooperation with General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), various manufacturers and first responder professional organizations, has developed training for safety at an aircraft accident scene. While the material was initially developed for firefighters, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and police, it provides useful information for any persons that may come across an aircraft accident.

Module 1: Systems and Material Hazards

  • Recommended for firefighters and EMS.
  • Primary module that identifies hazards unique to aircraft accidents.

Module 2: Aircraft Type Familiarization and Mission Specific Hazards

  • Recommended for firefighters and EMS.
  • Outlines aircraft variations in service and hazards associated with certain aircraft usage.

Module 3: Command and Recovery

  • Recommended for firefighters, EMS and law enforcement for aircraft accident protocol development.
  • Recognizes operational protocol for managing an accident scene and requirements related to the investigation of the accident.

Module 4: Ballistic Parachute System Familiarization

  • Recommended for firefighters and recovery personnel.
  • Provides information that will detail the installation, operation and techniques used by manufacturers to disable a Ballistic Parachute System so that the first responder will have a better understanding if tasked by the manufacturer to disable the system.

Module 5: Systems and Material Hazards for Rescuers

  • Recommended for police, airport and the aviation community or others that may be tasked with initial rescue.
  • Provides material from Module 1, however recognizes that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may not be equivalent to firefighter/EMS Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and does not address extrication.

Additional accident and training resources

Reporting an accident

Last updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022