Aviation is an operation that entails travelling in space. Largely, aviation involves planes and either cargo or passenger planes. It is important to have a high level of safety in aviation because the occurrence of accidents could be highly disastrous as witnessed in several plane accidents. When looking at aviation risks, we find that, fire risks are the most common and therefore there is a great need to prevent them.
In case an accident occurs, it is good for all affected to have the required information and skills on how to prevent massive destruction. Pilots and the entire plane’s crew should be well trained in order to minimize the occurrence of spacecraft accidents through human error. There are international standards and safety measures, which have been set regarding fire safety and are highly recommended by the aviation fire and rescue services.
These measures are undertaken in case of fire in the aviation sector to avoid great damages and losses (Jarvis, 2006). For a high level of safety to be achieved, it is essential that the training and development of fire and safety within an aviation organization be effective. Safety facilities and personnel should always be available and easily accessible at all times, since risks can occur at any time.
Some of the resources and facilities used in aviation such as fuel are dangerous whenever handled without care. Therefore, measures should always be put in place regarding the manner they are handled. Considering all these, it could be beneficial for the local authority fire rescue services and the aviation fire rescue services to join hands in trying to curb the risks associated with fire outcomes.
Aerodrome and licensing requirements
An aerodrome is a location in which space craft’s operations normally take place. Aerodromes thus comprise of airports, airfields, and military airbases. There are standard operations procedures outlined for use in an aerodrome. The aerodromes are categorically grouped into two. One category involves the unattended aerodromes in which flight information is currently being provided.
The second category of aerodromes involves the controlled aerodromes. In matters concerning fire risks in aerodromes, pilots are required to make turns towards the direction of the traffic circuit unless otherwise instructed by ATC in control. This helps avoid clashes with other planes, which can easily cause fire breakouts, since the planes were in motion.
The overhead circuit joining procedure should always be followed in unattended aerodromes or in cases where a pilot is not familiar with the given aerodrome (Civil Aviation Authority, 2007). In controlled aerodromes, pilots are supposed to notify the operating ATC on the nature of movement that they intend to undertake. This applies to both departing and arriving airplanes.
The pilot is also required to have an aerodrome control clearance before landing or taking off. The speed required for the pilots to operate within in any aerodrome is usually published in the specific aerodrome publication. It is mandatory for all pilots operating within a given aerodrome to comply with the given speed limits.
If unable, the pilot is supposed to notify the ATC early in advance. Licensing of aerodromes requires that the aerodrome be able to provide quality skills in fire fighting, supervisory and management. Evidence is also required by the CAA that the aerodromes have suitable systems for aviation operations to take place.
For example, fire-extinguishing facilities are required to be in place (Civil Aviation Authority, 2011). Knowledge and skills on how to deal with fire cases should also be available. This is to mean that the available training should be of high quality such that the fire rescue personnel in an aerodrome are competent enough. The air accident investigation branch looks into the causes of air accidents in order to apply the best method of rescuing the affected.
For example, during the accident that occurred on 18th July 1996 in Oxforshire, the investigations and the help rendered by the Air Accident Investigation Branch led to the survival of all the six passengers who had bordered the private plane. The Air Accident Investigation Branch is always ready and accessible in case of an accident, since the branch provides a 24-hour line that can be used to report any cases of accidents. The branch also has a set of recommendations to be followed by all for the safety of air travel.
Standards of fire safety
Combining the efforts of the Local Authority Fire Rescue Services and the Aviation Fire Rescue Services requires that we examine the standards of operation in matters regarding competence and safety measures. This is because the two are separate organizations and are bound to have different standards. The major difference in standards of competence between the two branches is that, the personnel of Aviation Fire Rescue Services, have a deeper knowledge in aviation matters that the Local Authority Fire Rescue Services.
They have more knowledge on the different parts of planes in which fire can occur. Combining the two branches would give the Local Authority Fire Rescue Services a chance to be more conversant with aviation fire rescue, thus increasing the available personnel for dealing with fire breakouts in aircrafts. The two branches have quite a number of similar standards of competence.
First, the two branches require that in case of an accident occurrence the members of the branches should be dedicated to saving the endangered lives. According to the Aviation Fire Rescue Services, it is has been mapped as a subordinate role, which should be undertaken with much consideration and competence (Civil Aviation Authority, 2007). This ensures that the people whose lives are at the greatest risks are rescued by rushing them immediately to the available medical care attention unit.
Prior to this, first aid services should be provided as medical attention is sought. In case of fire, the two organizations require their staff to be ready to extinguish the fire. This is to mean that there are facilities available for extinguishing fire. Proper training on the use and operation of these facilities is normally provided to all in order to ensure that everyone is conversant with each facility as well as their effective use.
It is an operational standard of competence for all the workers of both the Local Authority Fire Rescue Services and the Aviation Fire Rescue Services to maintain operational readiness and management of resources.
All should be ready to serve without fear and use each resource for the purpose it is intended for. There should be no fear whenever compelled with a situation requiring action. This allows for quick serving, which is essential to put off fire easily and save many lives.
A very important standard of competence that is exhibited by the Aviation Fire Rescue Service is the prevention of emergencies through proper management of aerodrome risks as well as hazards. This means that the possible risks have to be identified and measures taken to ensure that the risks are kept at minimal chances of occurring (Civil Aviation Authority, 2007).
Although this standard is not found in the Local Authority Fire Rescue Service, the organization gives guidelines to all the encountered places prone to fire hazards, on how to prevent similar occurrences. Another essential standard is the mobilization of resources in order to achieve highest response to an emergency. This means that, all the available resources, which can be used during an incident, should be incorporated.
This is because it ensures maximum performance. In cases of fire, any equipment that can reduce the effects of fire spreading should be used to put down the fire. An important factor, which is also a requirement for the two organizations, is the availability of fire fighting vehicles. These vehicles are designed in a special way for fire fighting. They possess mounted fire fighting facilities as well as space for the store of fire fighting equipment. In case of fire, these vehicles are recommended for use since they possess safety facilities.
The Local Authority Fire Rescue Services and the Aviation Fire Rescue Services have set it as a standard that the supervisors and managers should always lead the support persons in resolving operational incidents. This means that, even if they have been given the role of supervising or managing, they should always be on the forefront in ensuring that all the support crew is at its place and performing their duties for the safety of all.
In order to avoid and prevent further damage, materials that can cause an increase in the effect of fire should be avoided. It is through this standard that, spillages such as of fuel, which can worsen the situations of fire, should be avoided at a very high degree (International Fire Service Training Association, Williams & Laughlin, 1978).
All these standards of competence are the driving force that enables services to be delivered appropriately. Above all, it is the responsibility of all workers to maintain an effective performance. The Local Authority Fire Rescue Services have set operational assessments and special systems for checking the competence of all its workers. Fire fighting is a crucial matter, which should be dealt with properly to avoid further and self-damages while in operation.
For recruitment of fire fighters, the national fire-fighter selection process is used to measure the people’s physical abilities and personal qualities in order to identify their capabilities. Those already within the field are usually assessed through assessment development centres.
During the assessments, tests are carried out to identify the level of competence of workers in order to determine whether they can be capable of performing operations at higher levels of work such as managerial work. Managers of the local authority fire rescue services are usually the organization’s fire fighters who receive promotions after their competence has been identified through the assessment tests.
This appears to be the best method of recruitment since the capabilities of the recruited are known, not through spoken or written information, but through evidence from their performance. In the same way, the aviation fire rescue services have their own mode of determining the competence of all workers. Full exercises are done after every two years, in which the capabilities of workers are assessed. These are very essential since they keep workers alert about their duties.
The knowledge, understanding, and evidence requirements are assessed to be in line with the requirements of the fire fighting services. Workers are set in competent terms through demonstration of their abilities. Some workers do not always pass in the evidence-based assessment, thus, another criterion of assessment is used. This could involve knowledge and understanding assessment (Tackett, 2000).
Storage, use, and transportation of fuel
It is essential that licensees consider the fire risks associated with handling of fuel. Since fuel is an essential commodity in aircrafts, it cannot be avoided. What needs to be done is care during the handling of fuel. For the safety of passengers, they should be disembarked before the fuelling process starts.
Sometimes, circumstances may require immediate fuelling, in which disembarking of passengers would mean delays. In such cases, licensees should determine the risks that might occur and mitigate them. This includes ensuring that the ground level to which passengers evacuate is clear. It is prohibited for helicopters to perform fuelling process while the engine is running since this could easily ignite fires.
In other cases, de-fuelling processes are carried out (Civil Aviation Authority, 2004). Before the process starts, samples of the fuel should be taken and tested for contamination. If the fuel is contaminated, it should not be mixed with other clean fuel. Instead, it should be emptied into a fuelling vehicle or a storage tank. In order to ensure that the fuel in use by a certain aircraft is in safe conditions, sampling checks should be carried out throughout the storage, handling and even during distribution of fuel.
Whenever fuel has been delivered to a fuel installation, it should first be allowed to settle for a while before sampling is done. These are the requirements as per CAP 748. If the fuel sample is found to be contaminated or unsatisfactory, a second and a third sampling test is carried out (Kazda & Caves, 2008).
If those prove the fuel contaminated, it follows that any aircraft should not use the fuel. The next action involves informing the supplier of the fuel about its contamination. It is mandatory that all the fuel sampling equipment should be clean at all times, and all samples taken clearly labelled (Civil Aviation Authority, 2004). This avoids mishandling of the samples and spillages, which can cause fire breakouts.
In the storage of fuel in airports, all the storage facilities and equipment should be secluded from other facilities especially those that deal with water and ignitions. This avoids occasional contamination and fire breakouts. Generally mishandling of fuel during fuelling, defueling, transportation, storage and sampling can pose fire risks, thus, spillages and igniting materials should be avoided in places near fuel.
In 1997, November, a fatal aircraft crash occurred in Carson City involving piper Aztec plane. The accident was associated with engine failure. Since the engine requires fuel for its operation, it could have been possible that there was a problem in the incorporation of the engine fuel. This later led to the engine igniting. Fire accidents can be avoided by ensuring that planes have sufficient fuel for the journey intended and that the fuel in use is of the required quality (Great Britain, 2005).
Aviation fire rescue services are very crucial and play major roles in ensuring that air fire accidents are minimized. The aviation fire rescue services use set standards in all their operations. As mentioned earlier in the paper, the standards are usually the guiding pillars, which ensure that fire rescue services are carried out appropriately.
In the same way, we have also seen that the local authority fire rescue services have their own standards of operation. It has also been identified that most of similar standards are similar between the two organizations (Great Britain, 2006). This is because the two are associated with fire operations. All workers in fire rescue services should meet the required standards of operation. This is to say that, all workers should be ready to serve in fire incidents and be competent in their work.
It is crucial that fire fighters be occasionally evaluated to maintain standards of operations. The methods used to recruit new workers should always follow the guidelines outlined in the CAP in order to avoid recruiting incompetent personnel. High standards of care should also be exercised while handling fuel since it is a highly flammable material as highlighted above. As such, fuel should always be protected against contamination and igniting materials.
This is essential in order to avoid fire accidents (Moore & Lakha, 2006). All factors considered it would be good if the local authority and the aviation fire rescue services combined their efforts in matters of fire rescue. This would increase the source of information about fire safety and increase the performance of the two services since more personnel would be involved.
Civil Aviation Authority 2004, CAP 748: Aircraft Fuelling and Fuel Installation management, TSO, Norwich.
Civil Aviation Authority 2007, CAP 699: Standards for the Competence of Rescue and Fire fighting Service (RFFS) Personnel Employed at United Kingdom Licensed Aerodromes, TSO, Norwich.
Civil Aviation Authority 2011, CAP 168: Licensing of Aerodromes, Norwich, TSO.
Great Britain 2005, UK transport security–preliminary report: First report of Session 2005-06. Stationery Office, London.
Great Britain 2006, The Fire and Rescue Service: Fourth report of Session 2005-06, Stationery Office, London.
International Fire Service Training Association, Williams, E., & Laughlin, J 1978, Aircraft fire protection and rescue procedures, Fire Protection Publications, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.
Jarvis, R 2006, Aviation law: Cases and materials, Carolina Academic Press, Durham.
Kazda, A. & Caves, R 2008, Airport design and operation, Emerald, Bingley, UK.
Moore, T & Lakha, R 2006, Tolley’s handbook of disaster and emergency management, Elsevier/Newnes, Amsterdam.
Tackett, W 2000, General aviation fire fighting for structural fire fighters, Delmar, lbany.