London City Airport Consultative Committee

Fire and Rescue

Information about the Airport's Fire and Rescue Service




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Information about the Airport's Fire and Rescue Service


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Fire BoatObjective

THE principle objective of an Airport Fire and Rescue Service is to save lives in the event of an aircraft accident or incident. This objective must assume the possibility of, and need for, extinguishing a fire that may occur immediately following an aircraft accident or incident, or at any time during rescue operations, including the suppression of cabin fires and rescue of aircraft occupants. London City Airport Fire and Rescue Service provides the initial response to an incident, pending the arrival of the London Fire Brigade.

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The Service is located at the end of the arrivals and departures pier in the converted Dock Ledger building. It has a complement of 3 watches each with 12 staff. The staff are trained fire fighters aro C2 Protector Foam Tender and have received additional training on the particular risks and likely scenarios associated with emergencies at airports. Each has completed basic training and achieved CAA qualifications. Some are trained as coxswains for duties involving the rescue boat.

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The Service has the following appliances:

  • 2 x Simon Glostor Saro C2 Protector Foam Tenders carrying 6,000 litres of water and 720 litres of foam.
  • 1 x Kronenburg MAC 8 Foam Tender carrying 6,000litres of water and 720 litres of foam
  • 1x Sides VMA 112 carrying 10,000 litres of water and 1,200 litres of foam, 75kg of dry powder and 75kg of BCF gas.

(All of these appliances have the ability to pump water from the dock, ensuring constant replenishment of water supplies.)

  • 2 x 6.5metre Rigid Inflatable - these boats are capable of speeds of up to 32 knots, and can rapidly deploy rafts and flotation devices to assist anyone in the water

The Airport's new Sides VMA 112The Sides VMA 112 was acquired in 2003 it is larger than the other appliances weighing 30 tonnes. Built on a 6x6 wheeled chassis (the other appliances are 4x4) it has an exceptional monitor with the ability to discharge water/foam for a distance well in excess of 70m (it actually demonstrated to nearly 90m during testing!). The appliance is equipped with the latest rescue and recovery equipment - the most noticeable being the hydraulic cutting and spreading gear.  In spite of its size, it is able to accelerate to 50mph in 32 seconds fully loaded, and can reach a top speed of 70mph. This means it can attend an incident at the most remote point of the airfield within 90 seconds. It is able to drive on airport runways or over rough, soft or sandy terrain.

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Training is in 2 stages. The first stage is at Teeside International Fire Training College, where firefighters acquire the basic competency framework of skills and are tested at the end of a 6 week course. Once back at the Airport, they complete their training in other skills such as driving (LGV licence), breathing apparatus, first aid, water rescue and familiarisation with the topography of the Airport, buildings and the surrounding area. This second stage training includes ultimately a Coxswain certificate which allows the trainee to operate the water rescue boats and become a full part of team.

But training never stops!  The Airport have developed a new system of ongoing maintenance of competency training in line with the CAA's guidelines in CAP699. This includes a complex matrix of exercises designed to test firefighters in the whole framework of knowledge and skills over a fixed period of time to ensure that they remain fully up to date and competent.  Apart from this training and emergency exercises are run to ensure that staff are prepared for any eventuality and a regular bi-annual emergency test is arranged with the local authority, police, fire brigade and ambulance services to ensure that any major incident will be dealt with in a coordinated manner.

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In 2002 the Airport acquired a 450,000 state of the art training simulator, thus ensuring that staff are trained in the most realistic environment.  The simulator includes features representative of two of the aircraft using the Airport: 

  • the fuselage, port wing, engine, undercarriage, doorsill height and interior are representative of a BAe 146 jet aircraft.
  • the starboard wing, engine, and undercarriage  are representative of those found on a Dornier 328 turbo-prop aircraft.  These are very similar to the Fokker 50 and Bombardier Dash 8 which are also in common use at the Airport).
Fire in the simulator Fire fighters put ot the fire The fire is out
The training simulator in use


With this new advanced simulator the Airport Fire Service has introduced a training programme, which ensures that every fire fighter participates in either a Practical Pressure Fed Fire or a Heat and Humidity training exercise once a month, thus maximising the skills of fire personnel and ensuring practical competency.

As part of the Airport's policy of avoiding pollution the Fire and Rescue Service have been experimenting with a new, more environmentally friendly, type of foam - see our Environment Page for details.

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An independent Consultative Committee established by London City Airport pursuant to Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
John Adshead     Secretary: Stuart Innes

Page last modified: 27th July 2007