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German airports deploy Rosenbauer rescue staircases to enhance safety system

Published on 10 October 2011
The main consideration during the development of the new rescue staircase was safety in the case of a plane evacuation
The rescue staircase represents a special technical development for the rapid evacuation of aircraft passengers

During the past three years, Rosenbauer has already supplied rescue staircases to the German airports in Munich, Berlin and Leipzig.

Now this special item of company-developed firefighting technology has also been put into operation at Frankfurt am Main, which is Europe's third largest airport and has an excellently trained fire service that is an integral part of its safety strategy and can draw on sixty years of experience.

Systematic growth

Germany's largest airport continues to expand and this growth has resulted in a corresponding increase in the demands made upon its technical and safety systems. As an integral part of the latter, the airport fire service's acquisition of the E8000 / E3000 rescue staircase constitutes a major contribution to meeting these requirements.

Since the beginning of 2010, the airport fire service has been part of the FBA Business Area (Flight and Terminal Operations, Expansion) of the airport operator, Fraport AG, and has three fire watches in the airport complex. Some 200 men and women are on daily safety duty at the airport fire service and in-depth training and regular follow-up courses serve to keep them at maximum readiness. A Fire Service Training Center (FTC) with fire simulation equipment was created for precisely this purpose and in the meantime has become an internationally recognised competence center for airport fire safety.

Expansion demands top technology

The rescue staircase represents a special technical development for the rapid evacuation of aircraft passengers. Conversely, it also provides the rescue services (fire, rescue, paramedics) with safe access to the plane cabin. The rescue staircase, which is built on a Mercedes-Benz chassis, is suitable for all standard types of aircraft and can operate at heights of up to 8.30m.

With a width of 3,050 mm and a load-bearing capacity of 320 kg/m², the upper rescue platform furnishes the ideal prerequisites for rapid plane entry and exit. The high-performance hydraulics of the vehicle ensure that the main staircase can be run out from the storage position to its maximum height in roughly 50 seconds and is thus ready for action in no time at all. A height level control system (HLCS) can be employed for the pre-programming of the door heights of various aircraft types, which also allows an automatic approach during operations.

Even greater passenger safety!

The main consideration during the development of the new rescue staircase was safety in the case of a plane evacuation. The width and depth of the steps (1,500 mm / 390 mm) were so selected as to allow three people to descend abreast and in comfort. In addition, whatever the angle, the stairs remain in a horizontal position and are also brightly lit for a danger-free descent. Closed sidewalls surmounted by a handrail running from top to bottom serve to further enhance the feeling of security.

The gap-free join to the aircraft fuselage is one of the inventive highlights of the staircase, which first comes to a halt some 700 mm from the aircraft. The telescopic element under the rescue platform then closes the remaining space between the plane and the staircase and thus adapts to the contour of the fuselage in a process aided by approach sensors and a video camera. All the functions of the rescue device can be operated by just one person, working either from the cab or the control panel of both rescue platforms. The rescue staircase in Frankfurt also disposes over a quick attack reel for conducting water to the top of the platform.

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