Anchorage, Alaska Hazmat Team “The Pride of Alaska”

"The Pride of Alaska"

Prolog: Both of my visits to Alaska were teaching opportunities through the National Fire Academy. An article for Firehouse Magazine resulted from the first visit in 2005. Another teaching opportunity arose in April of 2018, which would also fulfill a bucket list item for my wife on our 35th Wedding Anniversary. This visit also gave me the opportunity to learn, obtain, and write about the Anchorage Fire Department, especially the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 (see Volume one). Fortunately it also kept me from the Anchorage earthquake, which occurred on November 30, 2018. During my life time, ironically the only earthquake I experienced was in my basement in Nebraska a couple of years ago. Sitting at my desk in the basement the wind chimes started to ring. Immediately I looked up to close the window, but it was already closed. It took me a few minutes before I realized what had happened and went to the internet to confirm. Sure enough, a quake centered in northern Oklahoma was the cause. Now I refer to all of my indoor wind chimes as my earthquake alarms.

Anchorage is the largest city in the state of Alaska, comprising more than two-fifths (42%) of the state's population (Figure 5.5). Anchorage is located in South Central Alaska. The city is about as far north as Stockholm, Sweden, or St. Petersburg, Russia, and as far West as Hawaii. It lies 290 miles northeast of Kodiak Island, 130 miles south of Mount McKinley, and it is on the upper branches of the Cook Inlet, the northernmost reach of the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered on the east by Chugach Mountain state park. Anchorage stretches from Portage Glacier to Eklutna, encompassing 1,955 miles2 - about the size of the state of Delaware. Because of the location of mountain ranges, it is only possible to drive north or south out of Anchorage.

Anchorage is the largest city in the state of Alaska, comprising more than two-fifths (42%) of the state's population

Figure 5.5 Anchorage is the largest city in the state of Alaska, comprising more than two-fifths (42%) of the state's population.

Highways only access a small portion of the 515,412 total land area of the state, and many areas are only accessible by air or water. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) here are 7,933 active pilots, 2,801 airframe and power plant mechanics of which 750 have inspection authorizations, and 9,346 registered aircraft in Alaska. Alaska has 400 public use airports, 282 land-based, 4 heliports (only public use listed this year), 114 seaplane bases, and approximately 747 recorded landing areas (private, public, and military) total. Of course pilots land on many of the thousands of lakes and gravel bars across the state where no constructed facility exists.

 
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