A UK first for new ARFF training programme

Published:  18 July, 2012

Scottish regional airport operator HIAL pioneers a new way of training airport firefighters.

The HIAL group has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to become a Tier 3 approved training provider for aviation firefighters, which would make it the first airport group in the UK to provide in-house, on-site fire training.

Until now, fire personnel at the group’s 11 airports have attended centralised, external residential courses. The new status will ensure that new recruits receive a more rounded training programme relevant to the locations in which they will be operating, and ultimately result in cost savings for the company, and the taxpayer, as training is brought in house.

Currently five firefighters at Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Campbeltown and Inverness are taking part in a trial programme, with each airport licensed as a satellite of the main centre at Inverness Airport. Aspects of the programme are being delivered in partnership with Edinburgh Airport Fire Training Centre and the programme is externally verified by UHI Inverness College.

George Taylor, fire service training manager at HIAL said: “The training programme delivered by HIAL is unique in that it is delivered locally on the recruit’s airport, with the team and equipment they will be working with. That provides a more realistic backdrop for their training and will ensure a smoother transition from new recruit to operational firefighter.”

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said: “This is a significant achievement for HIAL and a tremendous vote of confidence in our airport fire service who have worked extremely hard to develop this new in house training programme, a first for any UK airport operator.

“Achieving Tier 3 status will not only deliver savings for the company but, more importantly, will allow us to deliver a training programme which is entirely tailored to suit the diverse operating environments of our 11 airports. That will ensure that our firefighters receive a more rounded training programme that more accurately reflects their working environment.”

He added: “We are working closely with the CAA to achieve the high standards expected of a Tier 3 provider and our application is making good progress. The airport fire service provides a vital role in ensuring the safe and secure operation of our airports and we are delighted that HIAL is very much leading the way in the field of fire fighter training.”

A decision is expected from the CAA later this summer.

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