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Home » News » KCFD Works With Secret Service

KCFD Works With Secret Service

KCFD Works With Secret Service

August 2, 2014

Courtesy photo

By Mallory Ragon

President Obama landed at Kansas City International Airport just after 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. A small group of guests and representatives of the media arrived on the Tarmac about an hour before Air Force One landed, but the work of the ground crew began much earlier.

Matthew Mauer, battalion chief of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department Aircraft Rescue Division, said he was initially notified of the visit about a week and a half ago and had his first meeting with the secret service last Friday.

In addition to standard airport checks and procedures, Mauer had a team of nine at the ready for the occasion, and they spent much of Tuesday training on a borrowed 747, the same model as the president's plane—though Obama’s is a heavily modified version. Mauer explained that they don’t see many 747s and want to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of the aircraft in case something were to go awry. In preparation of the visit they placed three crash trucks at the landing site and one additional at its parking destination.

All vehicles, personnel and equipment were searched thoroughly by secret service and a K-9 unit.

Mauer and his crew also spent time working with the Air Force One advance team and reviewing the secret service’s procedures, including where on the plane the president is located during landing and takeoff in case of emergency. They were also given instruction to ensure they wouldn't compromise any of the standard security procedures that accompany the president's travel. Though much of that information is protected by a nondisclosure agreement, the air space is closed and airport security is instructed to defer to the secret service first if there is a call from another area of the airport.

"They got a big responsibility," Mauer said, "so we try not to make it worse for 'em."

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