At every U.S. airport with airline service, there is an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) team comprised of specially trained firefighters to handle firefighting, rescue and operational incidents of jet-sized proportions.
At Glacier Park International Airport, Fire Chief, Troy Glasman, is focused on keeping his team response-ready and at the top of their game.
“We want to be the best we can be,” says Glasman.
Glasman has been serving the Flathead Valley as an emergency responder for decades, with more than 25 years of firefighting background. A former West Valley volunteer fireman, he worked his way up to become the West Valley Fire Marshal and then moved into a position with ARFF at Glacier Park International Airport.
Keeping the GPIA ARFF team response-ready 24/7 all year round takes time and dedication. The team coordinates runway maintenance, reports on runway conditions 24/7, manages wildlife interactions at the airport (remember last year’s black bear event?), responds to emergencies at the airport, and provides mutual aid for emergencies outside the airport boundaries.
Glasman takes the ARFF role as a community resource seriously, and it’s reflected in his dedication to local partnerships.
“The airport is on the forefront of some important resources, like pushing forward a Rescue Task Force program,” Glasman says.
A Rescue Task Force is a nationally recognized model that lays a blueprint to organize, prepare and mobilize local emergency services, law enforcement, hospitals, and fire departments in a crisis.
In a rural area with many small communities, Glasman knows coordinating all these services is a challenge. “But I’m looking forward to setting up our team, and local partners, so we’re ready to go when needed,” he adds.
For all his clear dedication to the ARFF mission and GPIA passenger safety, Glasman does hold one thing above work.
“Family, that’s the most important thing in my life,” he says.
He and his wife came to Montana with two young children and added two more after they moved to the state. Now, Glasman enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking with his family (most recently summiting Great Northern), and is looking forward to the birth of his second grandchild.
Glasman might be as smart as he is brave. When asked for his favorite spot to eat in the Valley, he immediately and confidently responded: “my wife’s kitchen.”