National Fire Prevention Week: Van Nuys Air Tanker Base Visit #FireAndRescue

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. #DisneyinHomeEvent #FireandRescue
Photo provided by Disney
Photo provided by Disney

In honor of National Fire Prevention Week (October 5 – October 11, 2014), the #DisneyInHomeEvent and #FireAndRescue bloggers visited the Van Nuys air tanker base to learn more about how the research was done for the upcoming Planes: Fire and Rescue movie.  It will be released on DVD/BluRay November 4th, 2014 so be on the lookout for it. Before our visit to the airbase I had no idea that the characters in the movie were actually based on real people. I assumed they were based off real planes but to know that they were personified after actual people risking their lives every day? Yeah that was a wow moment. We met with Assistant Fire Chief Steve Martin to learn more about how Disney was able to come out to the same place we did to see how ‘real’ aerial firefighters did it. At the time of Disney’s research, Chief Martin was the battalion chief in charge of air operations in LA County. Fire Prevention Week was established in the 1920’s by President Woodrow Wilson to commemorate The Great Chicago Fire.  The tragic fire which began on October 8th 1871 and continued into October 9th, killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.


 Assistant Fire Chief Steve Martin

First we have what you see is the two super scoopers. They come from the province of Québec. They always come here in September and they generally can go through, depending on when the rains come, middle of November but we’ve had them as long as into January. I think last year we had big fires in January so they were here until February. We also augment with the air [SOUNDS LIKE: crane], this one over here. You’ve seen the movies. Obviously you’ve seen the characters based on these.

Then he went on to talk about how Disney was planning the movie for years out and they wanted to do their homework. He said, “So like I said I’ve got to give props to the Disney people. They do their homework.”

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Martin

So they came out and they met our folks just like you did today, came here to the facility. They met some of the pilots, the maintenance crew. They walked around the aircraft. They had them fire it up. They listened to the sound of it. They watched it fly. I think some of them even took a flight in it. They really, really did their homework.

They went back to the offices, called me a few weeks later, hey we miss a little something. Can become good again? Sure, come on out. So we had been out here a few times and after that time what they did was they started sending me information– what looked like early scripts. They would send me a script and they highlight, is this the proper word? Is this what terminology you would use? Is this what you– what would you say in this case? And a lot of times they would scratch something out and I’d say no, no we don’t talk like that. This was good. And we help them, I guess that’s what you, you know, the definition of someone being a technical adviser.


Fire safety is a very big deal. We talked about Emergency preparedness and we got to learn how to put out fires from Officer Martinez. He was very funny and extremely tolerant of a huge group of ladies who did not know what hustle meant. To be fair, we didn’t realize we would be wearing gloves, eye protection, and a hat before we got over there.


I just put out a fire! #fireandrescue #disneyinhomeevent #hotlikeburning

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It was very fun. I was slightly scared that it would fly out of my hands like it does in the cartoons but obviously I survived. Fire safety is a huge deal. Some tips that we discussed were to sit down with your family and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from your home during a fire.  You can draw a diagram of your home. And plan two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms.  Do you have an escape plan at your home? How about a plan to meet up in case of flood or an emergency in your town? If you have pets you also need to think about what is going to happen to them in case of an emergency.  To get more information about fire safety and fire prevention, check out LA County Fire Department’s website.




You may recognize this guy above me if you have seen Planes: Fire and Rescue.  Or maybe this guy? Or the lady below him?



If you haven’t seen the movie, these planes were the basis for the main characters. Does this help?

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Connect with Planes: Fire and Rescue

Author: Kat

Kat is a married mom of three kids aged 19, 11, and 8 that lives close to Birmingham, AL. She loves cats, books, cooking, hockey, and watching movies. She is an admitted nerd, comic book lover, action figure & barbie doll collector, blackjack dealer, beginner croupier, and all around queen of the dorks. You can reach her at [email protected] to talk about product reviews, press trips, sponsorships, or brand messaging.

3 thoughts on “National Fire Prevention Week: Van Nuys Air Tanker Base Visit #FireAndRescue”

  1. These are some very awesome pictures and the story behind Planes Fire and Resuce the Movie is very interesting. I have an escape plan is case of a fire! Smoke detecors with carbon monoxide detectors are so important. This movie is such a cute movie.

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