RFFS Latest Topics & News

Emerging ARFF issues explored in depth at AFOA Conference 2022

Simon Petts, AFOA chairman, welcomed delegates to the AFOA 2022 conference, giving a summary of activities undertaken by the association in the last 12 months before introducing the day’s program of eight speakers, covering a diversity of emerging issues for the aviation firefighting sector. He also confirmed that he would be standing down as Chairman and that Barry Alderslade has agreed to take over as chair for a period of one year.

Keynote: Transition and cultural change within organisations

Capita Fire & Rescue’s CFO Alex Clark explored transition and cultural change with reference to both his involvement in the creation of the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2013 and more recently Capita Fire & Rescue’s Defence Fire & Rescue Project.

The greater challenge in the formation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue service was in bringing together the people and culture of eight different services, rather than the organisational change. A cultural audit was carried out. Initially, each of the eight pre-existing services thought they were each the best and there was very little travel and engagement over old boundaries.

Communication is key to delivering the required cultural change. You need to lead everyone on the journey towards the new organisation. Moving and promoting people across old regions was not always popular, but did help to develop cultural change. New recruits also played a key role in developing the new culture and steadily the value of the single service began to be demonstrated.

The very different task at Capita has been to modernise service delivery at across 27 UK and nine international Ministry of Defence locations under the Defence Fire & Rescue Project. Carried out in times heavily affected by the COVID pandemic, this had many parallels with Scottish Fire, as well as differences. The military environments is a very different one, fire fighters went from military to civilian roles under the project. Face to face communications were restricted by COVID. Nevertheless, a full communications plan was deployed to keep people fully engaged, with weekly huddles and monthly cascades.

During the process 138 new vehicles were deployed and all PPE was replaced. 600 people were trained, with more than 50 new recruits and 70 promotions, while an ARFF training capability was established at the training college. A further key factor for success was the better use of data to inform management decisions.

Looking at both projects the approach had to be customised to your organisation and be able to reset in the light of events, such as covid.

Civil Aviation Authority Policy Update

Principal Aerodrome Inspector Neil Gray advised delegates of two new recruits to the CAA team, Ian Fisher has joined as Aerodrome Inspector and Graham Day has the new dual role of Aerodrome Inspector and Policy Specialist.

Neil then continued by summarising recent developments in post-Brexit RFFS policy workstreams at the CAA. On fuels, the CAA is developing policy in the context of the general drive towards decarbonisation to cover conventional fuels, sustainable fuels, electricity and hybrid.

As a collaborative process, the CAA is reintroducing a common qualification framework for training. Chapters 8 and 9 of CAP 168 are also being refreshed. The CAA is also developing policy for spaceports like Newquay, helidecks at hospitals and elsewhere and vertiports for emerging electric VTOL aircraft.

Finally, Neil also clarified the position with the regard to the recent ICAO State letter regarding RFFS for general aviation operation. All UK airports are licenced or certificated for commercial air transport. Unlicensed UK aerodromes are not permitted to handle passengers anyway, so no changes are need to current regulations.

NFCC Air Transportation Group Update

Jon Lacey, CFO of Suffolk FRS, introduced delegates to the NFCC, its focus on leadership, role in measurement as the voice of the fire service before going on to outline the work currently being undertaken in setting standards and defining risk.

In its key role of professionalising the fire service, the NFCC is establishing the College of Fire, based on the model of the College of Policing. He also reminded delegates of the recent work published by the Fire Standards Board including dwelling fires, high bay warehousing, nuclear installations.

He then moved on to his own specialist area of the NFCC Air Transportation Group workstream, which is currently undertaking a definition of risk project for air transportation. The NFCC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the AAIB and established a military liaison to cover rare civil and military incidents. Jon also thanked AFOA for its supporting work for the Air Transportation group workstream.

They are also looking at FRS air support for tackling the growing problem of wildfires. Training has been identified as a key area of importance, with local authority fire services training at both civil and military airfields. The NFCC has a working group working on Lithium-ion batteries and other emerging challenges, such as spaceports.

Live Fire Simulators

Main sponsor Steve Fahey, managing director of Simulation Alpine Metal Tech gave delegates an overview of its comprehensive range of live fire simulators. During the pandemic downtime the company has taken the opportunity to invest heavily in new product development, now launching some 54 new products including the new V22 Osprey aircraft and a new mobile aircraft fire trainer that does not require planning permission.

He also introduced the company’s 20-foot and 40-foot mobile container-based training unit, the defence miliary simulator and the combined fire and water simulator. Further innovations include a Grassland and Forest Fire training facility, an SUV vehicle fire simulator. The company is also currently working on a new hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) simulator to simulate biodiesel fires.

Hazards from EV and alternatively fuelled vehicles

In a fascinating hour-long presentation Martin Lown of the FireWise UK Learning Academy, took delegates through the fast-changing world of alternatively fuelled electric vehicles and the different risks they present in the airport environment. EVs, charging infrastructure and other alternatively fuelled vehicles fire training should be incorporated into emergency planning, exercises and all airport fire fighter training.

Airport car parks have a mix of EV and ICE car types with the potential for disruptive smoke plumes in the event of fire. In multi-storey car parks there are the added risks of poisonous gasses and higher temperatures caused by containment.

Hydrogen fuelled cars present unique risks and fire characteristics but are still rare due to the lack of fuelling infrastructure. Fuel cell EVs with hydrogen range extenders, present hydrogen and battery risks in the same vehicles. Airports are already serves by hydrogen powered buses and trains, while CNG and LNG buses are also growing more common. Cargo centres may feature with LNG, CNG, electric and diesel powered vehicles, any of which may also have lithium ion battery cargoes.

While other battery chemistries are currently in development current EVs mostly use lithium-ion batteries. All types of vehicles are now fitted with them including e-bikes, hover boards, scooters, cars, vans, buses, as well as ground service vehicles. E-taxis can present an elevated fire risk due to battery abuse because users seek multiple fast charges per day.

Distinguishing the power source of vehicles can be a challenge. The green tab on electric vehicle number plates is not mandatory, design features such as lack of visible exhaust are not always conclusive, and even vintage vehicles are now being retrofitted with battery electric drive.

EVs are less likely to catch fire than ICE vehicles and are generally far safer, but any fires that do occur are longer duration and higher impact. Factors include quality of battery, abuse, overcharging, overheating, vehicle impact damage, water ingress and submersion.

Fire behaviour is different and starts with off-gassing, then transition to flame and can then move to a projectile stage. The ‘smoke’ seen from cells is actually toxic vapour. State of charge is a factor, with a higher state of charge producing a more vigorous fire.

Fire fighters need to be aware of risks, trained and equipped. Think about where charge points are located at air terminals and identifying the associated risks. Lots if high voltage components in EVs present risk and are not always that easy to identify. Fire blankets are useful for EV cars and bus sized versions are becoming available.

Key messages are: to deal with fire and then deal with the battery pack, applying water. Reignition can occur in EV fires, with the longest recorded case taking place after 68 days.

Working with a Neurodiverse workforce in the fire sector

Miriam Heppell has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which is often associated with neurodiversity, as well as joint hypermobility and pain. This hasn’t held her back from a distinguished career in HR, most recently as Assistant Director of Learning and Development at London Fire Brigade where is playing a key role in supporting neurodiverse employees within the service.

Neurodiverse people are not necessarily disabled and can have super powers. They may have one or several of the following conditions autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Tourette’s syndrome. These are often undiagnosed and in women tend to be under diagnosed. (One reason for this is that a lot of the research into neurodiversity is based on men). Also, women with autism tend to be creative and voracious readers, whereas men with autism are more likely to be computer programmers.

By supporting deficit areas in the neurodiverse, employers can benefit from their super powers which include strategic thinking (thinking differently), empathy, innovation, creativity, observation skills (seeing things that others miss) and being keen problem solvers.

Miriam stressed the importance of understanding and accommodation. Employers should avoid aggressive performance management in deficit areas, instead providing understanding, support, recognition, reasonable adjustments, sensitivity, awareness and flexibility. In return you will be rewarded with passion, loyalty, delivery, honesty, depth of thinking, attention to detail and much more.

The aim should be for supportive handling of neurodiversity to become normal in the workplace. Estimates of the proportion of the population who are neuro diverse range from 0.2% to 20%. The neurodiverse appear to be attracted to the fire service and 30% of the London Fire Brigade are neurodiverse.

Cancer risks from ultrafine particulates

Abby Hannah Biomedical Scientist at Steadfast, took delegates through the risks associated with ultrafine particles in aviation settings. Airport combustion gases create ultrafine particles, 36 times smaller than a grain of sand with jet fuel and diesel combustion creates high levels at airports. These are linked to chronic disease and higher rates of cancer in fire fighters.

Multiple mechanisms are thought to play a role including inhalation, absorption and ingestion. Areas of weakness in current PPE include hoods which leave an area of exposure and allow particulates to contact skin. The greatest areas of absorption align with cancers: the front and back of neck, jaw and hands.

Among mitigation measures, Schiphol airport is currently trialling the use of mist to reduce ultrafine particles. Otherwise, Abby recommended the use of particulate blocking PPE including, FFP2 masks and blocking hoods.

UAV & Airspace Management

David Row Air Traffic Controller at Cranfield Airport updated delegates on the work being undertaken at Cranfield University on UAVs and airspace management as drone use continues to diversify and grow. Cranfield are using their Centrik audit system to prove the abilities of drones and develop policy and regulations for safe airspace management.

How do drones talk to air traffic control? And how do drones fit into routine airport procedures, such as runway inspection? Current regulations rely on eyes and size and are based on aircraft with people in them, whereas UAVs are smaller and of course unmanned. The regulations are based on model aircraft and require closure of an area of airspace when going beyond current visual line of sight, which is not viable in the long term as drone sue grows.

Future applications for UAVs include firefighting incident management, infrastructure inspection, solar farms, noise research and beyond airports. Eventually we will reach a world of Amazon UAV delivered trainers, but it’s some way off yet.

In March 2023, AFOA is planning to return to its traditional two-day conference and exhibition format with CPD-accredited working groups embedded in the conference. Dates and more details will be announced to members as soon as they have been confirmed

AFOA 2022 AGM Held at The Emergency Services Show

AFOA members gathered at the NEC in Birmingham to attend the 2022 AGM held as an informal working lunch on the first day of The Emergency Services Show.

AFOA Chairman Simon Petts opened by presenting a cheque for £500 to Kerry James, Fundraising Manager at the Fire Fighters Charity.

In AFOA committee news, Simon Petts will be standing down after many years’ service as Chairman. Barry Alderslade has agreed to take over as chair in October for a period of one year. Kieran Merriman, CFO at BAE Systems has agreed to join the AFOA committee. Simon Lane, deputy CFO, Airbus, Broughton has also agreed to join the AFOA committee from 2023. The committee actively encourages further members to join if they are able to contribute.

Suzanne Price, International Sales & Business Development Manager from WL Gore & Associates (UK) Ltd, who sponsored the event, introduced the company’s latest GORE-TEX structural products including GORE-TEX CROSSTECH® PARALLON® for superior breathability and thermal protection even in wet conditions and GORE-TEX CROSSTECH® PYRAD® fabric providing lightweight comfort and protection for technical rescue. Her colleague Oli Willson, UK Sales Manager for Gore’s footwear products introduced delegates to the breathability benefits of GORE-TEX CROSSTECH® footwear. The AGM lunch was additionally sponsored by ERDT Emergency Response Driver Training.

The next AFOA event is the 2022 annual conference taking place at the NEC Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 18th October, for which very limited places are still available. For a detailed speaker programme and booking details visit: https://afoa.org.uk/events/afoa-mini-conference/

AFOA is planning to return to its traditional two-day conference format, with up to 250 delegates and up to 20 exhibiting organisations at an event to be held in late March of 2023. Dates and venue will be confirmed in due course. The 2023 AFOA AGM will be held again at The Emergency Services Show.

Storage & Disposal of Class B Firefighting Foams

The Environment Agency’s Chemical Compliance Team (CCT) is the enforcing body for the EU POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Regulations within England.

They are currently carrying out a campaign to increase awareness of the legal obligations surrounding the use of PFOA in class B firefighting foams (for use on flammable liquid fires). They have produced the below guidance documents to help businesses identify if they hold PFOA containing foams and what actions they must take if they do.

EA Storage & Disposal of Class B firefighting Foams

EA supporting information

Emergency One Event

AFOA Hosts Mini Conference at Emergency One

AFOA members were welcomed to the association’s recent mini conference at the Emergency One’s headquarters in Cumnock, Ayrshire in Scotland, by the company’s Managing Director Mike Madsen and Director Steven Bell, alongside AFOA Chairman Simon Petts.

A morning of technical sessions was kicked off by Guy Barker, the recently appointed Aviation Contract Manager at the International Fire Training Centre in Darlington, hosts of the last AFOA mini conference. In the light of development plans at Darlington airport, Guy reiterated IFTC and Serco’s ongoing commitment to training at the venue and its strong order book of UK and international fire fighter training.

Simon Petts updated delegates on the welcome news that the Fire Service Long Service and Good Conduct Award has now been extended to cover all airport fire services, a change which has now received Royal Assent. Airport fire fighters are now eligible to receive the 20-year long service medal and the 30- and 40-year clasps. Military service can be included as part of the qualifying time and breaks in service are allowed. All airport fire services should have now received letters about this. Delegates were reminded that the award is for both long service and good conduct, and that long service alone does not necessarily justify the award.

Neil Gray Principal Aerodrome Inspector at the Civil Aviation Authority gave a comprehensive update. He began by reviewing the impact of the pandemic on flight numbers and incidents. Generally speaking, smaller airports (and internal flights) were much less affected than larger airports and international flights. A full recovery in UK flight numbers is expected in 2022. Despite the numerous challenges currently facing the industry including the drive for greater sustainability, impacts from the Ukraine crisis, rising fuel costs and the reduction in disposable incomes, IATA is still predicting a 44% growth in flight numbers over pre-pandemic levels.

The industry has been badly affected by the pandemic with ongoing issues including: difficulty in recruitment and retention of required staff; skills fade during the pandemic; expiration of certificates; changes in regulation; withdrawal of easements; travel disruption and disruptive passengers.

Neil also highlighted the seven key risk areas for the aviation sector: airborne conflict, aircraft environment, ground safety, terrain collision, runway incursion and runway excursion. He explored runway incursion, runway excursion and ground safety risks in detail as being key for aerodrome risk analysis.

Delegates were also reminded that while the general implementation of RFFS easements ceased at the end of March, individual applications can be considered with supporting justifications up until 30 September, when they will end completely.

He ended by reminding conference delegates of the CAA’s fiftieth anniversary this year. He shared extracts from the original 1972 CAP 168 document covering licensing of aerodromes. Anyone interested can obtain a copy of the original document from Neil.

Dr Thomas Budd, Lecturer in Airport Planning and Management at Cranfield University outlined the university’s recent research into RFFS training for newly hydrogen fuelled aircraft and demonstrated its newly developed VR tool for safe and immersive training for hydrogen fires. He was also joined by Jim Nixon, Senior Lecturer in Human Factors at Cranfield. Among some of the key differences they highlighted from existing kerosene-fuelled aircraft were: the likely variation in technologies, including hydrogen-powered fuel cells and engines and the fact that fuel will be stored in the fuselage rather than wings. Unlike carbonaceous fires, hydrogen fires do not emit smoke or have a visible flame, nor do they radiate heat, so it is possible to stand very close to them without ‘feeling’ them; sensory experiences will be very different for hydrogen fires. The new training tools can be used on PCs, laptops and smartphones and are free to download from the University’s website. The university is also developing the training for VR headsets.

In the afternoon Mike Madsen and Steven Bell of Emergency One hosted delegates on a full tour of their factory including the production lines where the company builds upwards of 240 fire fighting vehicles each year. There were also live demonstrations of equipment ranges by Clan Tools and Plant Ltd including Lukas edraulic battery-powered cutting tools, Akron Brass nozzles, Vetter lifting bags, BioEx fluorine free ecological firefighting foams and Leader nozzles, cameras, monitors and ventilators. The Emergency One vehicle range includes light, medium and supertenders; aerial and turntable ladders, command and control vehicles and a variety of special vehicles, many of which could be seen in production. Delegates were also given exclusive access to the E1 EV0 electric vehicle in construction and given a preview of a new vehicle range expected to be launched to the public at Interschutz 2022.

Delegates were also treated to a networking dinner and quiz in the evening, which rounded off a highly successful event.

The next AFOA event is the AGM scheduled to take place at Emergency Services Show at the NEC, Birmingham 21-22 September 2022. AFOA is currently exploring the potential to hold its next full-scale conference at Gatwick in October 2022.

Latest CAA Easement Update

Below is the full wording of the latest update from the Civil Aviation Authority:

Applications to Apply for Approval to Implement Rescue and Firefighting Service (RFFS) Easement due to a significant outbreak of Covid-19

The CAA recognises that the impacts of the pandemic for aerodrome operators have been significant and will continue to be challenging for some time to come. It also recognises that the regeneration of UK aviation is happening apace but against a backdrop of uncertainties posed by the community spread of Covid-19.

In my previous correspondence I stated that, whilst the general applicability of the RFF Easement, which was first introduced in March 2020 as an emergency measure to support continued aerodrome operations, is being withdrawn, the CAA will consider requests for continued use by individual aerodromes on a case-by-case basis, subject to acceptable justification being provided. The following provides more detail on making such requests:

  • Aerodrome Operators may apply to the CAA for a temporary approval to implement the RFF Easement in exceptional circumstances*
  • Applications for approval can be made using the form SRG2011 (Sections 1 and 2 to be completed)
  • Applications should be supported by appropriate justification**
  • If the application is approved it will be valid for a period of 60 days from the date of approval.
  • During the validity period you should provide a level of RFFS protection in accordance with your promulgated RFFS category and the associated task and resource analysis.
  • In exceptional circumstances* you may activate the RFF Easement in line with the terms of the approval***
  • To extend the validity of an approval it will be necessary to submit a further application

*In this context ‘exceptional circumstances’ means that your RFFS crewing levels have been depleted (as a result of Covid infections) to a point where they can no longer be maintained at the established levels through your normal resilience arrangements.

**Justification to support an application should include:

  • A detailed description of the circumstances in which the you will activate the Easement
  • Details of the measures that will be considered to manage any crewing deficiencies before activation of the Easement
  • The method of publishing details of the activation of the Easement so that aircraft operators are fully aware of the level of RFF protection available
  • Acknowledgement that aeroplane movement numbers have been or will be assessed to ensure they do not exceed the parameters for application of the Easement
  • A safety statement, signed by the aerodrome Accountable Manager, showing how the risks associated with the implementation of the Easement have been assessed and mitigated.

***If the RFF Easement is activated during the approval period a corresponding Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) should be submitted in line with UK (EU) 376/2014 Occurrence Reporting Regulation

At the end of the approval period you will be required to submit a report to your allocated aerodrome inspector detailing the dates/times that the RFF Easement was utilised, and the reason why (Nil returns will also be required)

CAA intends to terminate all uses of the RFFS Easements on 30 September 2022.

If you have any questions about this matter please contact your allocated aerodrome Inspector

Reinstatement of AFOA Membership Fee’s

Dear AFOA Member,

Thank you for bearing with us during the last 2 years, while our provision of services to you all has been severely restricted.  Although we did manage to hold two small scale, mini conferences last year, in conjunction with two of our supporters, it was nowhere near as much as we’d have liked to have offered to our members.

We are pleased to announce we have agreed to hold another mini conference in April, in partnership with Emergency-One, details of which will be published shortly.  We are also aiming to hold a slightly smaller than normal conference in October 2022, for around 100 delegates, to be held over one day with an evening meal and overnight accommodation and our hopes are to then return to our two-day, full capacity, annual conference early in 2023.

In recognition of the challenges our sector has felt through the pandemic, we have rolled over your annual memberships through 2020/21 and 2021/22, however, we are now reinstating the annual fee to enable us to resume the provision of our services to you.

The annual fee for membership hasn’t been increased and remains at £100 (plus VAT) per organisation.

If you would like to remain as a member of AFOA, and therefore be included in our mailing lists and receive first refusal for our future conferences and events, please email  Catherine O’Brien.  Your organisation will then be added to our 2022/23 list of members.

 If you don’t confirm your desire to remain as a member of the association, your organisation will be removed from the list of members, and you will no longer receive any correspondence from us.

The AFOA would be very grateful if, when you confirm your membership, you could also give confirm details of any changes to your organisation’s contact details/personnel etc, and we will then update our records accordingly.

We look forward to hearing from you, and to seeing you in the coming year.

CAA Confirms RFFS Easement to be extended until 31 March 2022

Below is the full wording of the latest update from the Civil Aviation Authority:

CORONAVIRUS – RFFS EASEMENTS EMERGENCE OF THE OMICRON VARIANT

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus in November 2021 we have reviewed the decision to remove the RFFS easements with effect from 31st January 2022, as communicated on 27 July 2021, and confirmed on 16 November 2021. Government data appears to show that the Omicron Variant is significantly more transmissible than the Delta Variant and as such has placed further pressure on the travel industry. For this reason, we have decided to extend the availability of the RFFS category reduction easement until 31 March 2022 subject to the criteria below.

1. Regulatory Easement
The regulatory easement outlined below is intended to provide aerodrome operators with a degree of flexibility that may be applied within the defined periods. It should be noted that the easement applies only to the provision of RFFS, the aerodrome may have to provide other essential services in line with applicable regulations.

a) Remission may be applied during the period 17 December 2021– 31 March 2022 (regardless of the number of aircraft movements in the period up to 17 December 2021, or the projected number of aircraft movements after the period 17 December 2021 – 31 March2022) subject to 1b and 1c below.
b) The rescue and firefighting level of protection is appropriate to the longest aeroplane normally operating at the aerodrome except that where the number of movements (landing or take-off) of aeroplanes performing passenger transportation in the highest category, normally using the aerodrome, averages less than 20 per day in the easement period (17 December 2021 – 31 March 2022), the level of protection provided may be reduced by one category.
c) Where the number of movements of the longest aeroplane normally using the aerodrome averages less than 8 per day in the easement period (17 December 2021 – March 31, 2022), a two-category reduction may be applied (see 2d below).
d) For all-cargo, mail, ferry, training, test, positioning and end-of-life aeroplane operations, with only the flight crew on-board, including those carrying dangerous goods, irrespective of the number of movements, a risk assessment and task/resource analysis may be carried out that focusses on the protection of the flight deck and escape routes of occupants to determine an appropriate level of RFFS protection.

2 Implementation and promulgation of the easements*:
a) The default position should be to deliver the promulgated level of protection based on the aerodrome’s RFFS task and resource analysis and promulgated category.
b) Implementation of easement in 1a, 1b and 1c above will require the prior approval of CAA.
c) Approval will only by given for cases where the aerodrome operator cannot provide the normal level of RFFS protection due to Covid-19 related limitations, examples include:

i. significant reduction in the number of movements by aeroplanes performing commercial air transport of passengers when compared to pre-pandemic levels
ii. Significant reduction in the number of passengers onboard aeroplanes operating at the aerodrome (aeroplane load factor)
iii. RFFS personnel unavailable due to positive Covid-19 test result
iv. significant numbers of RFFS personnel self-isolating in line with government guidelines,
d) Where remission is applied as per 1b and 1c above the aerodrome operator should endeavour to provide the minimum number of RFFS vehicles required for the aeroplane RFF category.
e) Aerodrome operators should review their RFFS Task and Resource Analysis in order to determine the impact of the reduced level of RFFS protection arising from the implementation of the easement.
f) Details should be shared with the aerodrome’s local authority emergency response partners through the aerodrome’s emergency planning forum.
g) A NOTAM should be issued to alert operators to the revised use of remission and the level of RFFS protection that will be provided.
h) Implementation of the easement should be continuously assessed through the aerodrome’s SMS with sign off by the Accountable Manager.

*Implementation of the easement may introduce an increased business risk to aerodrome operators

4. Application for prior approval of CAA
Aerodromes who wish to implement the easement detailed in 1a, 1b and 1c above should use the usual process which can be initiated by completing and submitting form SRG2011 which is available on the CAA website www.caa.co.uk

NOTE: Aerodromes with a current approval to implement the RFFS easement and who wish to extend this beyond 31st January 2022 should submit a further form SRG2011.

5. Ongoing monitoring and review
Aerodrome operators should monitor the number of aeroplane movements to ensure that, if the limits of the above easement are reached, the level of RFF protection reverts to pre-pandemic levels.
Data regarding the Omicron Variant continues to emerge therefore CAA reserves the right to terminate the easement described above at any time should government restrictions imposed as a result of the variant be reduced or withdrawn. Equally should government restrictions be increased, or extended CAA will consider extending the availability of the easement.
Aerodrome operators should continuously review any temporary arrangements that are put in place during the pandemic to ensure that collective measures do not impact on the effectiveness of RFFS response and intervention.

6. Contact
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact your allocated aerodrome inspectors in the first instance.

Rob Lewis
Manager Aerodromes and ATM

RFFS Easement Doc v1.8

CAA WEBSITE>

 

AFOA Hosts Mini Conference at The International Fire Training Centre

AFOA members were welcomed to the association’s recent mini conference at the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), Tees Valley Airport, Darlington by AFOA Committee Member Waine Weaver and Gary Watson, Business Operations Manager at IFTC. Delegates enjoyed a packed programme of speakers covering diverse aviation fire and rescue topics with a particular focus on training and broader industry updates.

Matt Bourner, Watch Manager at Manchester Airport Rescue & Firefighting Service started the day with an inspirational presentation on his own recovery from a motorcycle accident to become the first amputee firefighter in the UK airport rescue & firefighting service and the fourth amputee firefighter serving in UK fire & rescue services. Matt gave a very open and honest account of the long and very hard journey back from injury to normal life and operational duties. Clearly a very determined individual, he emphasised the importance of general fitness, a positive attitude and goal setting. Matt is an amputee counsellor for the Limbless Association and AFOA has made a £500 donation to this worthy charity.

Gregor Lindsay, Head of Learning & Development at The Emergency Planning College (EPC) then presented on UK Resilience; The Evolving Landscape. Historically resilience has strongly focused on the protection of people, property and assets, but the government is now looking more broadly at organisational resilience and the wider economy, making resilience an intrinsic part of national security and incorporating greater interoperability. Resilience planning is being driven by a determination to better understand risk and to ensure greater preparedness via exercises. There is recognition of the role played by the private sector and a greater focus on teams, people and upskilling. The National Risk register is now being updated on an ongoing basis, rather than every two years. The National Situation Centre, established to combat the pandemic, is now up and running. There is also a drive to better understand interdependency and to ensure it is possible to handle several issues at the same time.

Paul McDonald, CEO, and Joseph Gallagher, Director of Operations and Development at Camor Ltd presented on Integration and Communication for a multi-agency environment. Emphasising the need for greater use of interoperable training exercises, Paul McDonald referred to a security incident at Edinburgh Airport in 2014 to highlight practical and communications issues and how emergency service teams were able to work together. Joseph Gallagher used an incident at Glasgow Airport in 1999, when a Cessna crashed after take-off, to highlight the many communications issues that can be expected arise.

Taking a break from presentations, delegates had the choice of touring IFTC’s comprehensive fire ground facility and the VR suite. The fire ground features over 25 training simulators with multiple ARFF vehicles and different aircraft ranging from an A380 CAT 10 simulation rig, a full Trident aircraft, 747 CAT 9 simulation rig, military and civil helicopters and a Tornado aircraft. IFTC’s state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Suite offers the opportunity to deal with a realistic emergency within a safe classroom environment. Students can generate their own emergency scenarios in great detail by controlling factors such as weather conditions, types of buildings, traffic flow and incident details.

Steve Milton, MD of Emergency Response Driver Training started the afternoon session of the conference looking at the complex requirements under Section 19 for driver training of emergency vehicles when responding landside, expected to come into force in May 2022. Delegates were guided through the complexities of possible exemptions and training requirements for blue light, high speed and road speed driving. Blue light driving of Class 2 (light) vehicles will require 120 hours training, Class 4 (heavy) vehicles will require 80 hours.

Chris Thain, Business Development Manager at G3 Systems, gave an enlightening presentation on firefighter training in a combat zone, looking specifically at G3’s work supporting airfields in Afghanistan up to the withdrawal US forces. This work included a number of logistical challenges and cultural issues, including language barriers and rapid ‘skills fade’.

IFTC’s Gary Watson gave an enlightening and refreshing look at Team Dynamics in a CPD-accredited session. He highlighted four key character types into which all of us can typically de divided. Recognising our own and our colleagues’ characters can be key to forming successful working relationships, recognising our differing strengths and needs.

Dr Thomas Budd, Lecturer in Airport Planning and Management at Cranfield University outlined the work the university is doing in the field of RFFS hydrogen fuelled aircraft response training, specifically the use of VR training tools for an immersive, safe and secure environment. These new training tools will be free to download on any device including PCs, laptops and smart phones from March 2022. AFOA members and the ARFF community are encouraged to visit: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/dartecseamlessjourney where they can download the Hydrogen Safety in Aviation Brochure. AFOA is planning to host a feedback session on the training at the next Mini Conference in 2022.

Neil Gray of the Civil Aviation Authority rounded out the day with an industry update. Topics covered included post-Brexit aviation rule changes (which will made by the Department for Transport) and changes to rebated fuel ‘Red Diesel’ (airfield vehicle use highly unlikely to be legal from 1 April 2022). Neil ended by exploring future flight challenge projects and their likely implications for ARFFs including sustainable aviation fuels; electric, hybrid and hydrogen aircraft and vertipods and urban air mobility.

The day ended with a fine Christmas dinner provided by the IFTC. A charity raffle held raised £376 for The Firefighters’ Charity.

AFOA has decided not to hold its traditional full-scale conference in 2022. Its next Mini Conference event is scheduled to be held in April 2022, with details to be confirmed. The AFOA AGM is scheduled to take place at Emergency Services Show at the NEC, Birmingham 21-22 September 2022. The next full-scale AFOA conference is scheduled for February 2023.

CAA Confirms RFFS Easement to be withdrawn on 31 January 2022

Below is the full wording of the latest update from the Civil Aviation Authority:

Rescue and Firefighting Service (RFFS) Easement.

You will recall that I wrote to you on the above matter on 27 July 2021 at which time I advised you that the availability period for the RFFS Easement would be extended to 31 January 2022. We have completed a review of the RFFS Easement and associated ‘frequently asked questions’ and I am now writing to reaffirm our intention to withdraw this and cancel the associated document as planned on 31 January 2022. I do hope that the RFFS Easement has been useful to you, and that it has helped you to manage your operation during extremely challenging times.

With effect from 31st January 2022 you will be required to provide a level of RFFS protection in accordance with your promulgated RFFS category and the associated task and resource analysis.

Whilst the general applicability of the RFFS Easement is being withdrawn we will consider requests for continued use by individual aerodromes on a case by case basis, subject to acceptable justification being provided. We will also consider the general reintroduction of the RFFS Easement should there be future events that adversely impact on aerodromes in a similar way to the current pandemic.

If you have any questions about this matter please contact your allocated aerodrome inspector.

Rob Lewis
Manager Aerodromes & ATMAirspace, ATM & Aerodromes
Civil Aviation Authority

Gatwick Airport Validates Emergency Plan with Multi-Agency Exercise

Gatwick Airport recently took part in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Re-Certification exercise to test the airport’s emergency plan. Focusing on an off-airfield aircraft accident next to a railway line, this was the first full scale, face-to-face multi-agency exercise to take place since the pandemic.

Participants included Gatwick Airport Fire & Rescue Service, West Sussex Fire Service, Sussex Police, South Coast Ambulance, Network Rail, Air Ambulance and West Sussex County Council Resilience and Emergency Team. The exercise also provided EasyJet cabin crew and crisis team with a valuable training opportunity. Volunteers from the Casualties Union and EasyJet played the role of casualties, while fire simulations were provided by Alpine Metal Tech.

The full exercise took two and a half hours with JESIP leads from all agencies initially meeting at 10-minute intervals. A hot debrief took place onsite at the end of the exercise, with all agencies returning to headquarters to carry out full debriefs with their crews. The Coordinating Group will now begin to collate the learnings from the exercise and take those into the development of the final report to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Simon Petts, Chief Fire Officer at Gatwick Airport and Chair of the Airport Fire Officers Association said: “It has been a real challenge to continue training in a Covid-secure way throughout the pandemic but as the CAA has advised, airports must now put plans in place to test their emergency plan at the earliest opportunity. There has been a huge amount of organisational change at airports and emergency services over the last 18 months, and this exercise provided all agencies with an opportunity to understand what the impacts of those changes have on emergency response, and share their learnings, according to JESIP principles.”

Heathrow Airport’s Fire & Rescue Service (also AFOA members) has also recently also carried out a multi-agency exercise, and more airports and aerodromes are expected to follow.

AFOA 2021 AGM Held at The Emergency Services Show

AFOA members gathered at the NEC in Birmingham on 7th September to attend the 2021 AGM held on the first day of The Emergency Services Show 2021.

AFOA Chairman Simon Petts opened proceedings by presenting a cheque for £2,000 raised from association events to Kerry James, Fundraising Manager at the Fire Fighters Charity.

Guest speaker Caroline Anderson QFSM, Vice Chair of Women in the Fire Service UK introduced WFS, with whom AFOA has started to work closely. She outlined the work the organisation undertakes to inspire and support women working in fire and rescue services throughout the UK, including its regular training and development events. AFOA is starting a process to better understand the national picture of women working in airport fire services, in order to enable and inspire confident and successful women in the aviation firefighting sector. In future, AFOA plans to hold workshops in collaboration with WFS.

Three new workstreams are being established at AFOA to review issues associated with the emerging areas of spaceports, alternative fuels (including lithium, hydrogen and ethanol), and emergency response driving (ERD), in the light of planned changes in the legislation covering the driving of emergency vehicles. All members with special interest in these areas are invited to come forward and contribute.

Chris Thain of G3 Systems who will lead the spaceport workstream, gave an overview of regulatory framework and legislation for the basics of fire safety and emergency response at spaceports. (See below for more information).

Civil Aviation Authority inspector Andy Fraser highlighted a number of recent changes that AFOA members should be aware of:

  1. Post-Brexit, EASA references should be removed from all documentation, although ADR references can be retained.
  2. The new Air Navigation Order went live on 6th Article numbers have all changed.
  3. The CAA is now the UK space regulator. Spaceports first have to be licensed aerodromes.
  4. RFFS Easements have been extended until January 2022.

Reece Büchner, Technical Sales Manager of FlamePro Global, who sponsored the event, introduced the company’s latest firefighting PPE ranges and managed service for PPE cleaning, decontamination, care and maintenance.

The next two AFOA mini-conferences, currently limited to 30 attendees, will be:

8th December 2021, Training based event at the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), Teeside, covering regulatory easements and RFFS compliance, to include IFTC fireground tour and VR training demonstration. A Christmas dinner will also be included.

8-9th March 2022, on firefighter safety at Gatwick (details to be confirmed).

AFOA welcomes applications for speakers and sponsors at both of these events.

AFOA has established a Working Group for Spaceports. Chris Thain of G3 Systems reviews the regulatory framework and legislation for the basics of fire safety and emergency response at Spaceports in this article.

Download Space Launch Emergency Response article

 

Air Ops Risk Review for 2020

The aviation sector was massively disrupted in 2020, leading to a new safety landscape. EASA has produced its preliminary safety review for Air Ops in 2020.

air_ops_safety_risk_review_2020

Air Ops Risk Review 2020 Document>

 

Read More>

Firefighters’ cancer risk to be identified through new national database

 

Fire fighters enter a burning building as part of their training

First UK registry will quantify the health risks that firefighters face

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have created a new nationwide database to assess the potential link between exposure to fire toxicants and the increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases among firefighters.

Known as the UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry (FCDR), the database will collect information on firefighters’ work routines, exposure to fire effluents, lifestyle and health. This will enable scientists to identify and recognise most common cancers and diseases related to firefighters’ work, and, in the future, offer preventative health screening, education and support that is specifically designed to protect firefighter’s health.

The project, initiated and co-sponsored by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and clinicians working at the Royal Preston Hospital, will allow UCLan researchers to analyse data on a long-term basis. As part of this, they will track the number of cancer cases amongst firefighters over time, investigate possible causes of cancer and other diseases – such as exposure to fire toxicants – and evaluate the risk of different cancers among firefighters compared with the rest of the population.

This research will allow scientists to fully understand the link between the exposure to fire effluents that firefighters face at work and the prevalence of cancers or other diseases. All firefighters, both serving and retired, as well as those that have or have not been previously diagnosed with an illness, will be invited to register.

Filling in this registry will help us to track the rates of cancer and disease case over time, as well as helping us to recognise most common diseases and cancers related to firefighters’ work and exposure to fire toxins

— UCLan’s Anna Stec, Professor in Fire Chemistry and Toxicity

This research, commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), follows an independent UCLan Report> that provides guidance for fire brigades on how to minimise exposure to fire effluents, as well as highlighting the high levels of carcinogens present in the working environment of firefighters.

UCLan’s Anna Stec, Professor in Fire Chemistry and Toxicity, said: “The UK’s National Cancer Registry and Analysis Service is currently not able to provide any reliable data on cancer incidence or mortality amongst firefighters. Setting up the UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry will enable us to identify and keep track of all firefighters who have been diagnosed with the diseases and cancers, as well as identify any association between firefighter’s occupation and exposure to fire carcinogens.

“We are calling on all firefighters, including those new to the career and those that have moved on, to register with the UK FCDR. Filling in this registry will help us to track the rates of cancer and disease case over time, as well as helping us to recognise most common diseases and cancers related to firefighters’ work and exposure to fire toxins.”

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, added: “Firefighters take on huge risks when tackling an emergency, but the hazard to their health does not stop when a fire is extinguished. Every current and former firefighter who has suffered a serious or chronic illness needs to add their name to this register so we can further expose the shocking numbers of firefighters suffering from cancer and other diseases.

“In Canada and parts of the US, the link between firefighting and deadly diseases has been recognised in legislation, allowing firefighters and their families to receive compensation where health has been affected or where firefighters have died as a result. We need to be doing far more to avoid contamination in the first place but also, as the body of evidence continues to grow here, politicians in the UK must be willing to step up and protect their own firefighters.”

The UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry can be accessed here on the

UCLan website>

All data is stored securely and anonymously, and firefighters can request that their data is withdrawn at any time.

 

Sign up to the UK FCDR>

Paul’s Hair and Beauty World Fatal Fire, July 13 2013

Following the now completed lengthy coronial process, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service [GMFRS] have produced the Oldham Street: Training & Learning Video, which provides an account of the fire where Firefighter Stephen Hunt tragically lost his life.

Following the incident, GMFRS at the time produced a Fatal Accident Report. The video is an extension of the report and brings together all the findings into a single training and learning resource, by re-creating the incident in a visual way, aimed at supporting the future training and development of Firefighters and Officers.

The video [approx. 45 min duration] has proved to be a valuable internal resource and as such, GMFRS wanted to take the opportunity to share it more widely and make it available to all within the sector.

Whilst the incident was a number of years ago, the learning outcomes remain relevant today.

Fatal Accident Investigation Report Oldham Street July 2013>

 

GMFRS Pauls Hair World 13.07.13 Training & Learning Video>

Government bans old coach, bus and lorry tyres from roads in new measures to improve road safety.

Tyres aged 10 years and older will be banned.

As of 1st February 2021, tyres aged 10 years or over cannot be fitted to the front of any HGV vehicle or coach or to any axle on a minibus. There is no exception currently in place for Fire Service Vehicles on or off Airfields. If it is road registered, then it is applicable.

  • tyres aged 10 years and older to be banned to help improve road safety

  • clearly visible date of manufacture mandatory on each tyre, ensuring older tyres are easy to spot
  • latest action follows years of work by the government and determined efforts of campaigners

Old Tyres Evidence Final Report>

Impact Assessment>

Source Terberg DTS

 

GOV.UK>

Following the significant resurgence of COVID19 the CAA has readdressed the matter of RFFS easements

During the unprecedented and extremely challenging times we are facing the UK Civil Aviation Authority have been asked a number of questions regarding the provision of Rescue and Firefighting Services (RFFS) at Licensed or Certificated Aerodromes.

RFFS FAQ and Easement v1.4

Please feel free to comment on the forum Legislation/Compliance.

https://afoa.org.uk/forums/forum/legislation-compliance/

 

 

Rescue and firefighting services at aerodromes

The objective of this Decision is to maintain a high level of safety for aerodrome operations. In particular, it aims to enhance the effectiveness of rescue and firefighting personnel when responding to aviation emergencies at an aerodrome, by allowing the aerodrome operators to train rescue and firefighting personnel on pressure-fed fuel fires more frequently at facilities that utilise fuel other than jet fuel (e.g. gas). The substitution of the jet fuel with other types of fuels provides an alternative way to the training, which is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Furthermore, the Decision provides guidance material to support aerodrome operators to verify the medical and physical fitness condition of the rescue and firefighting personnel. The guidance material is based on current medical practices for rescue and firefighting personnel and on ICAO Doc 9137 Part 1 ‘Rescue and firefighting services’

EASA SIB 2020 07 R1

Explanatory Note To ED Decision 2020-009-R

EASA RFFS AMC and GM following ED 2020-009-R

 

 

 

 

 

EASA Document Library>

THE CHALLENGE OF A RAPIDLY CHANGING AIRPORT SCENE

Liveryman Simon Petts, CFO London Gatwick Airport outlines the major impact COVID-19 has had on the airport.

In the early days and weeks of what we now know as the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact upon the Fire & Rescue Service here at London Gatwick was limited to daily meetings with our Stable Operations Team, Public Health England, South East Coast Ambulance Service and others. Primarily, this meeting’s agenda focused on how we would manage the possibility of COVID-19 cases arriving into the UK. For my part, I had a particular interest in the alerting process for such cases and potential controls required to be developed for our responding crews should there be a need for medical intervention. (The Fire Service crews respond to around 800 medical calls a year).

Having been at Gatwick for a significant period of time (I can barely believe the figure myself), I, along with a number of my colleagues, have been through a number of events that have generated periods of disruption and anxieties for the world of commercial aviation; SARs, 9/11, Avian Influenza, Swine Flu, Ebola, 7/7, Terrorism…….and a few others. I think it’s fair to say that none of those came anywhere near the effects being experienced as a result of COVID-19.

As the days and weeks moved on it became evident that the aviation world was about to hit a number of significant challenges. We began to see suspected cases entering the UK and before too much longer COVID-19 had firmly established itself within our borders. Fast forward to today’s picture, prior to COVID-19 Gatwick was operating at or around 47 million passengers per annum from the busiest single runway in the world. To watch this operation in full swing on a busy day is quite something. The toughest game of Tetris you will ever witness, and our normal role is to incident manage in amongst it all.

To give you some perspective of the impact, yesterday’s passenger figures (in the last week of May) were 35 in total!

Gatwick Fire & Rescue Service has had to rapidly revise its operating model. The Licence to operate the airport is partly dependent upon the adequate provision of the Rescue & Firefighting Services; if our trained staff were to fall below certain levels this might be a considerable risk to Gatwick’s ability to open its runway. Initial fears were that we would see our numbers greatly affected by the loss of staff due to self-isolation or infection. This factor alone drove an early lockdown of our teams, access to them being restricted long before the direction from central government. We developed several initiatives around social distancing while attempting to maintain our critical functions.

Gatwick set in motion a number of workstreams to develop an operating model with greatly reducing passenger numbers and increasing flight restrictions. It began a phased scaling down of its terminal buildings with chunks of infrastructure being removed from service on a daily basis. As those of us who work within the Fire Sector understand, this doesn’t simply remove the risk; often it can just defer, or shift it elsewhere; Part of my role during those early weeks was to give advice on risk profiles and mitigation steps, using the rapidly changing information to establish a suitable fire service provision.

Gatwick FRS works extremely closely with our supporting local Authority FRS’s, West Sussex & Surrey. The relationship has once again proved invaluable, as the two operations began to be challenged in different ways the personal communications and updates have allowed us all to remain completely clear on how each is resourced and coping under these unpresented challenges.

Our service uses Operational Guidance Notices (OGN), to give direction on certain elements of our work, at the outset of the pandemic a specific COVID-19 OGN was developed in an attempt to describe how we would deliver our operation in an extremely challenging period of time. We are currently on our fifth version! With a few appendices thrown in for good measure.

Currently the skies remain very quiet, along with the airports. That said, we are beginning to get a feel of what a route back to normality might look like. I’m hoping the ‘new normal’ as it’s widely being referred to, is more of a temporary normal. PPE solutions, along with advances in medical science and infrastructure engineered solutions are paving a way to a slow, phased, safe return to commercial air travel. Rest assured we are working hard to develop these solutions and keeping everything crossed while we do it.

Salamander July 2020>

CORONAVIRUS – RFFS EASEMENTS

The UK Civil Aviation Authority understands that the spread of Coronavirus is concerning for the industry.

How the UK Civil Aviation Authority is preparing

As part of its regulatory duties, the UK Civil Aviation Authority consistently monitors and prepares for a variety of scenarios. The UK Civil Aviation Authority are closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus situation and considering any required precautions to take.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority have robust contingency measures in place to ensure continuity of our safety-critical regulatory business in the event of the spread of COVID-19.

During the unprecedented and extremely challenging times we are facing the UK Civil Aviation Authority have been asked a number of questions regarding the provision of Rescue and Firefighting Services (RFFS) at Licensed or Certificated Aerodromes.

RFFS Easement Doc v1.2

Please feel free to comment on the forum Legislation/Compliance.

https://afoa.org.uk/forums/forum/legislation-compliance/

 

 

SRG2011 Form>

FAA Proposes $1.29 Million Civil Penalty Against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1,291,621 civil penalty against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation for allegedly violating aircraft rescue and firefighting regulations.

Read more>

Horrifying new footage shows jet skidding along Moscow runway engulfed in 100ft flames before passengers flee inferno that killed 41 as Russian pilot is formally charged with negligence after lightning strike

Denis Evdokimov, 42, was charged with negligence today over the crash landing after lightning strike in May 2019

  • The Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed onto the Sheremetyevo runway and was engulfed in 100ft flames
  • Thirty-seven people survived the horror crash of the Murmansk-bound domestic flight, with ten injured
  • New footage and pictures from The Russian Investigative Committee show the horrific scenes unfold

 

Read More>

Investigation reveals cause of 2016 Emirates plane crash in Dubai

General Civil Aviation Authority’s final report recommends enhanced training for pilots and air traffic controllers

Investigation reveals cause of 2016 Emirates plane crash in Dubai

The report said that without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 was doomed to crash on August 3, 2016.

Emirates has been urged to enhance pilot training following an investigation into Flight EK521 which crashed at Dubai International Airport and caught fire in 2016.

A final report by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the pilots failed to realise the engines of their Boeing 777 remained idle as they tried to take off from a failed landing attempt.

“The flight crew reliance on automation and lack of training in flying go-arounds from close to the runway surface significantly affected the flight crew performance in a critical flight situation which was different to that experienced by them during their simulated training flights,” the report said.

It added that air traffic controllers also failed to warn the pilots that two other flights had previously failed to land due to windshear.

The report also recommended that the details of the crash and the lessons learned into air traffic controller training.

Among a list of recommendations to Emirates, the report said it should “enhance the normal go-around and missed approach training standards”.

The report said that without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 was doomed to crash on August 3, 2016.

Emirates said in a statement on Thursday that it has “proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures” based on its own internal investigation.

While the 300 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777-300 escaped with their lives, a subsequent explosion that engulfed the aircraft killed a firefighter on the ground, the report added.

It noted that during the attempted go-around, except for the last three seconds prior to impact, “both engine thrust levers, and therefore engine thrust, remained at idle. Consequently, the aircraft’s energy state was insufficient to sustain flight.”

The GCAA report said the flight crew “did not effectively scan  and monitor the primary flight instrumentation parameters during the landing and the attempted go-around” and “did not take corrective action to increase engine thrust”.

Also contributing to the cause of the crash, the report said air traffic control did not pass “essential information about windshear reported by a preceding landing flight crew”.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said: “Emirates welcomes the publication of the Final Report, and we would like to thank the UAE AAIS, and all parties who have contributed to the investigation for their work.

“We would like to once again express our sorrow and convey our condolences to the family of the firefighter who lost his life while responding to the accident. We would also like to recognise our teams on the aircraft and on the ground that day, who responded to the emergency in an exemplary fashion and ensured the safe evacuation of everyone on board EK521.

“The aim of aviation safety investigations is to understand all contributing factors and ensure appropriate measures are taken by the relevant parties and agencies to prevent a reoccurrence. Emirates acknowledges the conclusions and recommendations drawn by the AAIS.

“Since the accident, our priorities have been to support the passengers and crew of EK521, to conduct a thorough review of our internal processes, and to support the work of the investigators.

“In addition to actions identified in the Final Report, Emirates has also proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures based on our own internal investigation, as well as on a thorough review of the Preliminary Report and Interim Report. These actions were taken in conjunction with our regulator, the UAE GCAA. It is a positive validation of our robust internal process that the majority of our own findings and recommendations are included in the final report.

“Maintaining safe operations is a top priority at Emirates, and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations.”

Published Final Report UAE521 on 6-Feb-2020>

GCAA website>

Latest Monnex Test Results Confirm Manufacturers Claims

“Is Considered to be Accurate”

For more than 35 years Monnex has retained a 50% reduction in volume of use over other dry powders such as ABC and standard BC. Monnex dry powder was originally manufactured by ICI in Warrington before being purchased by Croda plc and the manufacturing transferred to the Croda operation at Kirkby, Merseyside in the early 1990’s. The current manufacturers of Monnex (Kerr Fire) maintain the following claim:- ‘When Monnex is tested in an EN3 rated extinguisher body, it is possible to extinguish a 144B pan fire (4.54m2) with just 1.5kg of powder’.

The request from MAG Airports is for LEIA to undertake an independent fire performance test to determine if the manufacturer’s claims are still relevant in 2019.

Conclusion: –

Given the limited number of tests undertaken and the protocol chosen for the fire performance tests of Monnex and ABC40 dry powder, the claim made by the manufacturer of Monnex as detailed in this reports ‘Background Note’ is considered to be accurate. The Monnex dry powder fire performance was significantly better than ABC dry powder with the use of 651gms /m2 for ABC powder versus 330gms/m2 for Monnex which represents a 50% reduction required weight for weight to achieve extinction on the fire tests undertaken by LEIA.

Gary McDowall

LEIA Laboratories.

TEST REPORT JANUARY 2020>

CAA INFORMATION NOTICE IN–2017/031>

 

Monnex Dry Powder Performance Test July 2019

Following the announcement from the CAA that UK Alt Moc 4 ADR.OPS.B.010 (a) (2) will be withdrawn commencing 1st January 2020. The Aviation Rescue & Firefighting industry raised questions and sought to seek answers.

AOA provided the forum for discussion with the CAA present, before AFOA (working with Angus) pushed to provide the evidence needed to demonstrate the performance of a ‘High performing’ powder against a standard ABC powder.

Following on from the Dry powder testing that took place in July 2019 at Angus, Bentham, where a performance test between a standard ABC (off the shelf) powder and Monnex Dry powder.  A report has now been complied and published for industry circulation by Neil Gyllenship GIFireE. Senior Airport Fire Officer, Manchester Airport Fire Service.

It is recognised that test conditions were a rough guide and the extinguishers used (although both 9Kg) did differ slightly, i.e.; Monnex 9Kg powder CO2 Gas cartridge, with the standard ABC 9Kg powder being stored pressure. The result of the test was pretty conclusive with Monnex far out performing the standard ABC powder.

The next stage of this evaluation would be to peruse factual evidence under laboratory conditions. Manchester Airport will be commissioning an independent company to carry out the testing and then sharing the results with industry.

This is necessary to provide closure and conclusive evidence to support our industry.

Test Report July 2019>

Commercial plane crash deaths fell by more than 50% in 2019

Aviation deaths have fallen dramatically around the world, from more than 1,000 deaths worldwide as recently as 2005.

Air miles schemes encourage people to take flights, the report saysLast year there were eight fatal incidents involving commercial jets around the world

The number of people killed in large commercial airline crashes fell by more than half in 2019.

Last year was “one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation”, with an average of one fatality every 5.58 million flights.

The news comes from Dutch aviation consulting firm To70, which found that there were 86 accidents involving large commercial planes in 2019.

These included eight fatal incidents which resulted in 257 deaths.

In 2018, there were 160 accidents, including 13 fatal ones resulting in 534 deaths.

Boeing 737 MAX planes are being stored at several locations in the USBoeing 737 MAX planes were grounded after two fatal crashes within months

The worst crash of 2019 was on 10 March when 157 people were killed on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plane.

The aircraft type was grounded soon afterwards, as that crash had followed one the previous October near Indonesia which killed 189 people.

To70 said that, while the aviation industry was focused on future threats such as drones, it still needed to “focus on the basics that make civil aviation so safe: well-designed and well-built aircraft flown by fully-informed and well-trained crews”.

The plane had lost height during take-off. Pic: Kazakhstan Emergency Committee
Twelve people died in a crash in Kazakhstan. Pic: Kazakhstan Emergency Committee

The other main crashes of 2019 were a Fokker 100 in Kazakhstan in an accident that killed 12 people and an Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 that caught fire during an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport,
killing 41 people.

Aviation deaths have fallen dramatically around the world, from more than 1,000 deaths worldwide as recently as 2005.

2017 was the safest year so far, with only two fatal accidents resulting in 13 deaths, none of them from passenger jets.

The figures include passengers and air crew, as well as anyone killed on the ground in a plane accident.

They do not include accidents involving military flights, training flights, private flights, cargo operations and helicopters.

Aviation Safety>