Cork Airport has taken delivery of a new state-of-the-art firefighting vehicle which will provide faster emergency response times and help fight aircraft fires more effectively.
The new Avenger is part of a significant investment in the airport’s fire and rescue service, which has also seen the development of a hi-tech aircraft firefighting simulator at the airfield.
The Avenger replaces an older machine which has been in service in the airport fire service’s four-tender fleet for several years, all maintained by an on-site mechanical team. Its bigger cab can carry up to four crew.
It has upgraded off-road driving ability, high specification firefighting systems, improved scene illumination capability, and enhanced equipment-carrying capabilities.
It can carry 10,000 litres of water; 1,200 litres of low-expansion firefighting foam for tackling aviation fuel fires; and 160kg of high-performance firefighting powder.
While in the older vehicles, fire crews have to run separate hoses for delivery of powder and foam, the Avenger has a hydro-chem unit which can produce powder and foam from one hose. It also has a cab-operated, roof-mounted hose which allows the driver spray water on a fire once the vehicle is in range. It also has seat-mounted breathing apparatuses which allow firefighters fit them as they respond to an incident.
Critically, despite its size and weight, it can reach 80km/h in 34 seconds.
The airport’s chief fire officer, Jim Johnson, said all of these features combine to ensure fire crews will be able to respond faster.
“We pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality of training in rescue and firefighting to our fire crews here at the airport,” he said.
“The purchase of this modern and highly capable vehicle will further add to the high standards we have in order to provide the maximum possible level of safety to the travelling public.”
A new aircraft firefighting simulator has also been developed to provide a full mock-up of engine, undercarriage, or cabin fires, which can be sequenced to occur one after the other, or together, as they might in a real-life scenario.
It will allow extremely realistic training scenarios be applied within the ongoing training programme, ensuring crews are fully prepared for any situation that may be encountered at the airport, said Mr Johnson.
The airport’s fire and rescue team members received international praise and credit for their response to the Manx2 plane crash at the airport in February 2011, in which six people, including the two pilots, died. The swift arrival of firefighters at the off-runway crash site, and the speed with which they extinguished an engine fire, prevented an even greater loss of life.
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