We were privileged to kick off the new year by visiting the local heroes of Portland Fire Department’s Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Division (ARFF) and talking battery safety with them. CellBlock’s COO, Matthew Vandemark, paid a visit to their state-of-the-art facility at the Portland International Jetport (PWM) to learn about the challenges that the crew is facing from the rising incidence of lithium-ion battery fires.
Lieutenant Matt Hawkes told Vandemark that the Division is on high alert for battery fires, since lithium-ion batteries are omnipresent at airports. In a Facebook post, Hawkes wrote, “The FAA has reported a significant increase in the number of lithium ion battery fire incidents on airplanes and in airport terminals. We were in the process of acquiring funding to purchase one of [CellBlock’s] LIBIKs* (Lithium-Ion Battery Incident Kit)…to our surprise, the owner of the company unexpectedly and graciously gifted us one.”
Hawkes continued, “Lithium ion battery fires present unique challenges for firefighters and having this bag on our ARFF apparatus will aid us immensely with mitigating and limiting damage in the terminal and on aircraft at PWM.”
Vandemark demonstrated the LIBIK and left it behind as a token of CellBlock’s appreciation for the fine work that the Division does in keeping PWM safe.
Badge of the PFD’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Division, based at PWM.