Stennis International Airport Fire Department is Ready

By Jennifer Baxter, Communications Director
Stennis International Airport

A new chief, continual training and top-notch equipment enable the Stennis ARFF Department to respond quickly to emergencies and handle a variety of other duties.

The Stennis International Airport, which is owned and operated by The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, is equipped with a top-notch Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Department on-site. The Stennis International Airport ARFF Department is an “all hazards” organization, which means the department stands ready to quickly respond to emergencies at any given moment. However, the department and its staff play a large role in all aspects of airport operations.

The Stennis International ARFF Station is located on the south side of the airfield, and it employs 21 part-time firefighters. The Stennis International ARFF Department is certified by the FAA, currently maintains 3 emergency crash vehicles and provides Stennis International Airport with NAS 3306 Category 6 coverage 3 days a week. This level of coverage assures increased response capability to support all Stennis International Airport & Airpark tenant activities.

The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission (HCPHC) recently hired a new fire chief to lead the Stennis International Airport ARFF Department. Fire Chief Russell Shoultz is an excellent addition to the HCPHC award-winning staff and has 29 years of fire and emergency experience, most recently having served as the Deputy Fire Chief in a neighboring county. Chief Shoultz’s greatest professional accomplishment is having the earned the title of veteran, as he served in both the Afghanistan and Iraqi theaters.

“The Stennis International Airport Fire Department is constantly training on firefighting tactics to include ongoing familiarization on all types of aircraft,” said Fire Chief Shoultz. “Preparation and training are the only ways to successfully handle an emergency with little to no warning.”

Stennis International Airport is proud of its ARFF Department operations and is happy to report that Stennis firefighters respond to any incidents on and around the airport. They perform a variety of other duties, to include: airfield inspections, wildlife mitigation, public education through various meetings and events and a lot of ongoing training, which keeps the ARFF Department FAA compliant and ready for anything that may come their way.