Top fire rig for Cardiff
Published: 01 January, 2008
On a cold autumn day politicians, firefighters, press and VIPs congregated at Cardiff International airport to witness the opening of a new £750,000 ($1.5m) aircraft fire simulation system – the first such system to be installed by Draeger in the UK.
Everyone was keen to see the unique new rig in action, if anything because the burning LPG would at least drive some warmth into cold bones.
And unique is the word for the rig, constructed as it is entirely to the specifications of Cardiff airport. The 30 metre long rig comprises two sections replicating a Boeing 767 and a Dash 8 aircraft, as Senior Airport Fire Officer Ray Imperato explains, “This new training rig will give us the most up-to-date facility in the UK… it offers 17 different computer-simulated firefighting scenarios, from cockpit fires to fires starting in the galley, toilet, landing gear, seats, fuselage and engines.” It also incorporates an external fuel spill fire area, and it is predicted that the rig will also be open for training by industrial firefighters.
The facility’s computer control and monitoring system will enable multiple training scenarios – all with safety features built in. An automatic monitoring system includes gas detection sensors, temperature sensors and a remote support service via data interface.
In addition to automatic shutdown in the event of a gas leak or excessive heat generation, the system includes several emergency stop buttons that automatically shut down the simulation and start ventilation to remove smoke.
The Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport of Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones, emphasised the green credentials of the new facility. “The rig has the environmental advantage that it does not burn kerosene, but burns liquid petroleum gas. This will also help reduce the airport’s carbon footprint.”
It is envisaged the facility will be used approximately four times per week by the airport’s firefighters, who work in four daily shifts of 13 people, providing a 24/7 service. Following remodeling, the old rig will be used for extreme crash scenarios.
Vice President of Draeger Safety Solutions, Rainer Kröger, commented on what makes a good training rig. “A training device should be realistic, reliable and safe. These three are very important headlines. That a firefighter be hurt during training cannot be allowed. Realistic means that, for example in this case, you have a smoke generator and the capability to have 10 fires outside and seven inside. Here is a fantastic opportunity to create hazards that could happen in real life.” Rainer also highlighted the rig’s environmental features, such as its water recycling system (all water is reused), and the fact that the gas used does not smoke.