ARFF: Fire and rescue takes key spot at Dubai conference
The global aircraft rescue and fire fighting conference - ARFF 2013 has been taking place at the Oberoi Hotel in Dubai yesterday and today having opened with key messages aimed to ensure the world's airports are ready to deal with aircraft accidents and keep air travel safe.
The first day’s conference featured some key case studies from airports that have already faced major aircraft incidents. For the first time delegates from 36 countries gathered in Dubai to network, train and learn valuable lessons from the speakers at the event.
The audience heard from Changi Airport about the Qantas emergency in 2010 on 4 Nov 2010 when an A380 suffered an uncontained engine failure on takeoff and had to dump fuel and circle the skies over Singapore and Indonesia before being allowed to make an emergency landing at Changi. Cletus Packiam, chief,AES, presented the sequence of events that lead to the successful safe handling of this flight. A total of 469 passengers and flight crew were safely evacuated.
The event was opened by a scene-setting keynote address from Mark Woodward of the UAE’s civil aviation authority, GCAA , who welcomed everyone to the first middle east hosted ARFF event and outlined how far the UAE has come in aviation safety and fire fighting in a very short space of time. He told the audience that the UAE is now spending time and resources into developing and ensuring their aerodrome emergency services are well trained and using state of the art equipment.
Gillies Crichton, head of assurance, Glasgow Airport , highlighted the vital role the ARFF departments have in building resilience at the airports. “The ARFF has a key role to play in restoring normality in the shortest possible timescales, thus permitting full, or at least partial operations to resume. “ARFF departments should broaden their horizons from simple emergency planning to embracing a more holistic approach to business resilience in order to underpin the survival of the industry upon which we all depend”, he said
ARFF 2013 is an IAFPA (International Aviation Fire Protection Association) event, it featured a conference with an exhibition featuring some of the leading industry suppliers to the fire fighting industry including Oshkosh, Rosenbauer, Kidde Fire Trainers, Solberg and more.
Dubai Airports is officially supporting the inaugural ARFF event in Dubai and all the UAE Airports are represented at the event by their chief fire officers.
Khalid Al Muhairi, chief fire officer at Dubai Airports said “It is a great pleasure for Dubai to host such an important event for the Aviation Fire industry as ARFF 2013. We invest a lot of time and resource into developing our ARFF teams at the airports here in Dubai and across the UAE and we welcome hosting global forums such as these in Dubai.”
Ensuring that ARFF 2013 is a global event for the global ARFF industry, delegations are attending from airports around the world and as varied as Dallas Fort Worth, Hawaii Airports, London Heathrow, Gatwick airports, Denmark, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indian airports and Kenya. Due to its Middle East location delegations are also in attendance from the GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and of course the United Arab Emirates airports.
The second day of ARFF focused on training where speakers discussed the importance and choices of modern day fire fighter training as well as revalidating their qualifications frequently.
One quote from John Anderson, Fire Chief, Emirates Response Services summed up the importance of up to date training: When confronted with a catastrophic event that endangers lives and high value assets……”You don’t rise to the occasion……you fall-back to your highest level of training!”
PICTURED: ARFF delegates visit the Dubai Airports' A380 fire trainer as part of the conference