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Uncommon master firemen accreditation

Eastern Iowa Flight terminal policeman obtains unusual master firefighter qualification. Starting in October 2013, Web page examined online courses for a year before taking a 150-question multiple-choice driving test at the end of September.

Amy Page, 27, serves the regional airport as a firefighter, police officer, and emergency medical technician as well as handling operations duties. She said the airport master firefighter program, offered by the American Association of Airport Executives in Washington, D.C., offered an opportunity for additional training.

“I love learning and expanding my knowledge, knowing it will help me do my job better,” said Page, who joined the airport in 2009 after earning a bachelor’s degree in flight operations and aviation management from the University of Dubuque.

Beginning in October 2013, Page studied online courses for a year before taking a 150-question multiple-choice test at the end of September. While doing the independent study, she continued to work the required 24-hours-on, 24-hours-off shifts at the airport as well as completing continuing education requirements of her employment,

Page, a native of Huxley, Iowa, credits the support she received from Airport Public Safety Commander Ken Washburn as well as having a supportive spouse, who works as an air traffic controller at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill.

“My husband was very understanding,” Page said. “There were evenings when we were not able to go out and do stuff because I needed to stay home and study.”

The curriculum for the program includes materials related to rescue and firefighting operations as well as airport administration and management. Page, a licensed pilot, said she gained a better understanding of her role in the overall operation of the airport.

“I studied aviation management in college, but we didn’t get into the financial, legislative, and marketing aspects of an airport,” she said. “The program helped me learn a lot more about how an airport operates.

“We’re in one department out of multiple departments at the airport, Understanding what the other departments do helps you do your job better.”

Jason Graber, battalion chief with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Leesburg, Va., said the airport master firefighter program is designed to meet the need for professional training at the nation’s airports.

“After an airport firefighter gets a basic certification at various sites across the country, there is no other certification that an airport firefighter can get specific to that discipline. That’s what we’re trying to drive with the professional certification program,” said Graber, who was instrumental in developing curriculum for the airport master firefighter program.

“It’s just giving a starving industry something else in the way of professional development.”

While her certification prepared her to manage an airport fire department, Page expects to continue working in the airport safety department and looking for additional training opportunities.

“I love working at this airport and I plan to stay in aviation,” she said. “At this point, I really can’t see too far down the road.”

About Shauna Lehner

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