On my recent trip to California to learn all about Planes: Fire and Rescue, we had the opportunity to visit the Van Nuys Airfield and talk with the real firefighters behind the fire and rescue team.
To say I learned a lot would be an understatement. It was a totally eye-opening experience, and it was really fun to know that the movie was based off a lot of what these guys told the Disney team. The movie is so true to life that whenever someone asks the fire crew what it is like, they respond by telling them to go watch Planes: Fire and Rescue.

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Fire Safety

Learning all about how the movie was made was a ton of fun (and I totally recommend you pick up the Blu-ray when it comes out on Nov. 4), but what was really great was learning all about fire safety.

We learned about the sheer number of wildfires that take place each year – they asked us how many we thought there were and my complete guess was a measly 20. Little did I know, there are thousands of wildfires each year, but Fire Chief Steve Martin told us, “you only hear about the big ones” — this also happens to be a direct quote that made it right into the movie!

Wildfires are very commonplace, which is why there is an entire team of fire safety crews all over the state of California. While some of the crew is from California, there is also collaboration with fire crews out of Quebec.

Tools of the Trade

We were able to experience a firsthand look at some of the actual planes and helicopters used to fight those forest fires. These pieces of equipment became the inspiration for quite a few of the characters in the movie. Take a look:

The Quebec Bomber, also known as the ‘super scooper’, was the inspiration for Dipper.


planes - dipper

Here I am standing next to one of the tires (this plane is huge!):


And catching a lift inside (just checking it out, we never left the ground).


This helicopter was the inspiration for Windlifter.

planes - windlifter

And this chopper was the inspiration behind Blade.

planes - blade

CERT Training

Even though most of our visit was spent talking about wildfires and learning all about how they fight those, we also had a chance to get some training from a Fire Fighter from the LA County Fire Department. He is the one who teaches the CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) education in the area. CERT is about getting civilians ready to be able to help their community in an emergency.

planes fire safety2
planes fire safety

While it may look like all fun and games, we really were getting real training and learning a ton. I learned firsthand that putting out those fires isn’t as easy as it looks, just take a look at how many attempts it took me in this quick video (I’m the second person attempting to put out the fire).

planes fire tips

Fire Escape Plan

It is too late to think of a plan after a fire has happened. Be sure to take the time to prepare your entire family in case of an emergency. A Fire Escape Plan can be a very simple thing, but can also save your family’s lives.

  1. Sit down with your family and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from your home during a fire. Draw a diagram of your home.
  2. Plan two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms.
  3. Make sure everyone can unlock all locks and open all windows and doors quickly.
  4. Ensure that safety bars contain the proper device so that in an emergency, they may be easily unlocked.
  5. If you must escape from a second story window, be sure you have a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.

Connect with Planes: Fire and Rescue

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyPlanes
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DisneyPictures
Website: http://www.disney.com/planes-fire-and-rescue



Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for the coverage of several press events for Disney. All opinions are 100% my own.

Thanks to Laura of Better in Bulk, and Heidi of Save More Spend Less for a couple of great pictures. 🙂