By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos –
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has trained both junior and senior cadre of their staff on Aircraft Emergency Management organized for the Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting Service (ARFFS) Department.
The training which was done in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), operating mode of the U.S. Department of Transportation attracted representatives and aviation stakeholders drawn from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Air space Management Agency (NAMA) amongst others.
During the intensive training at the Aviation Stakeholders Conference on Aircraft Emergency Management, a wide range of FAAN staff were taught on how to go about firefighting and and other emergencies in relation to aircraft incidents and accidents.
In the training which comprised mostly of FAAN’s fire fighting men, Mr. Marc Tonnacliff, Aircraft Firefighting Specialist, Airport Safety and Standards, FAA during his presentation diagnosed when and how to tackle firefighting in cases of any emergency situation.
“To be successful in ARFF, a lot of things must be in place. It involves planning, comprehensive all-hazards approach and there must be collaboration between internal and external management agencies”
Tonncliff recommended a training approach that is not stereotyped adding that trainees need to be trained in an environment that would enable them learn easily while blueprints on how to improve on the system is paramount.
According to Tonncliff ARFF is a special category of firefighting that involves the response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in (typically) an airport ground emergency.
He observed that airports may have regulatory oversight by an arm of their individual national governments or voluntarily under standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization but maintain that to be successful in firefighting, specific recommendations need to be followed.
Due to the mass casualty potential of an aviation emergency, the firefighting expert said that the speed with which emergency response equipment and personnel arrive at the scene of the emergency is of paramount importance. Their arrival and initial mission to secure the aircraft against all hazards, particularly fire, increases the survivability of the passengers and crew on board.
Noting that FAA has been in the forefront to disseminating useful information, journals and recommendations for best practice, Tonncliff advocates that it is very important that all ARFF officials know what to do, where to go and who is assigned to different assignment at the right time and at the right places.
In a similar development, over Half a billion Naira has been saved by FAAN from its in- house training programme for its staff across airports in the country which commenced a year ago.
General Manager, training, FAAN, Mr. Nath McAbraham Inajoh said the billions is accruing from the DTA’s it would have paid to the over 5,000 staff for training during the period.
Mr. Inajoh who was speaking on the topic: Economic Recession and survival strategy at the just concluded Nigeria Institute of Management, chartered Ikeja chapter member’s week in Lagos, said the in- house training system had to be adopted as management was reluctant in embarking on any training due to paucity of funds.
“Between 2013 till date, it’s been tough training in FAAN because of the economic situation and the panic I had was how do you supervise a department that is not doing anything because of paucity of funds; so we put our heads together and made a proposal to management and we said okay, what is the problem when it comes to the training”, Inajoh said.
In his own goodwill message, Managing Director of NAMA, Capt Fola Akinkuotu pledged support to FAAN, stressing the need for inter agency collaboration.
In the same vein, representative of Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, Capt Murtah Usman corroborated NAMA’s views, saying they would also support FAAN in their resolve to enhance aircraft emergency management.