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HIAL wins approval for onsite fire training from CAA

Published on 24 July 2012
Fire chiefs at HIAL say the new training regime will help deliver a more relevant training programme for new recruits
The CAA has approved HIAL's application to become the first Tier 3 training provider for aviation firefighters

Scottish airports operator HIAL has become the first in the UK to win approval for a new scheme to provide in house, on site fire training.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has approved an application by HIAL to become the first Tier 3 training provider for aviation firefighters.

The approvals means that fire personnel at the group's 11 airports will be trained locally, instead of attending external residential courses. Fire chiefs at HIAL say the new training regime will help deliver a more relevant training programme for new recruits.

Currently five firefighters at Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Campbeltown and Inverness are taking part in the programme, with a sixth new recruit about to join the scheme from Dundee.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said: "We have an extremely talented and experienced team of fire fighters across our 11 airports and we are delighted that their passion and commitment has been recognised by the CAA in this way. The fact that HIAL, a relatively small airport operator in passenger terms, has become the first operator in the UK to launch its own in-house fire training programme is a tremendous achievement."

George Farquhar, chief fire officer at HIAL, added: "Not only will this approval result in significant cost savings for the company, and the taxpayer, it will ensure that our fire fighters benefit from a training regime that is better tailored to their actual working environment. No two airports in the HIAL network are the same and it is vital that we are able to deliver training programmes that reflect diverse local requirements."

And in another first for the company, Dundee Airport has launched a new life saving mud water rescue service.

The £100,000 rescue kit will allow airport fire fighters - usually the first responders in the event of an emergency - to access the deep mud flats which flank the shoreline of the River Tay, close to the airport runway.

The state of the art mud rescue kit includes winches, sleds, a specialist argocat vehicle with trailer, pioneer boat, and mud boots to allow fire fighters to walk on quicksand and soft mud.

The new rescue equipment is part of a major investment by airport operator HIAL to boost its fire fighting and emergency response capability at Dundee Airport.

Dundee Airport is the busiest in the HIAL group in terms of aircraft movements. In the past year, it handled almost 40,000 flights compared to 33,000 at Inverness, the busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers.

George Farquhar added: "We are proud of the important role that our fire fighters play in ensuring the safety of passengers at Dundee Airport. The shoreline of the Tay is difficult terrain for emergency responders and only our fire fighters have the capability to perform vital rescue services in this area. This investment will undoubtedly help save lives in the event of an emergency."

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