The principle objectives of the HIAL Airport Fire Service are to save lives in the event of an aircraft accident or incident and to reduce damage to property and the environment. The diverse nature of these operations require unique solutions to the many challenges presented and this is achieved through partnership working with internal departments and external stakeholders.
A host of other critical tasks are also undertaken by the Airport Fire Service across the different locations: from wildlife and habitat management to snow clearing and de-icing, from providing ground handling services to conducting environmental inspections and a range of other duties.
Working to achieve the objectives of HIAL’s Strategic Plan, the Airport Fire Service are engaged in a range of initiatives aimed at minimising the environmental impact of its operations. Amongst these are the introduction of new de-icing products which offer significant improvements in environmental performance, a drive to minimise use of water, foam and fuel in AFS activities and the procurement of hybrid and electric vehicles.
The Airport Fire Service remains committed to exploring initiatives through which services can be offered to businesses and communities, including a range of Fire Safety courses, Fire Extinguisher servicing, fire risk assessment and first aid training.
HIAL continues to invest in its Airport Fire Service, with a recently-completed programme seeing all HIAL locations receiving new fire appliances and with further significant investment planned to enhance the environmental credentials of the AFS fleet of operational vehicles. Each of the coastal airports provides a water rescue capability, with two of HIAL’s locations – Sumburgh and Barra – providing fast rescue craft and Dundee providing a mud rescue capability.
The Chief Fire Officer is based at Head Office at Inverness Airport and is responsible for developing and reviewing Policy and Procedures in partnership with the Airport Fire Managers and their teams from each of the group’s 11 airports.
The provision of rescue and firefighting services requires competent staff and HIA has fully embraced the concept of competence-based training. On recruitment, all Fire-fighters receive a comprehensive initial training package before embark on a development programme designed to develop their knowledge and skills and offer avenues for career progression.
Each airport has a range of training facilities, with training rigs enabling live fire-fighting practice. These are supported by the training syllabus, which enables a range of scenarios to be exercised in both live and table-top exercises on a rolling 24 month programme.
HIAL has close links with all of the external emergency services and agencies encompassed by the airports’ emergency plans. All HIAL airports have detailed plans for both internal responses to emergencies and plans that outline how joint working with partner agencies is managed. These plans are exercised on a continual basis and act to support the airports in their provision of coherent and well managed emergency arrangements.