A firefighting truck practicing with foam at an airport. Photo by Ph Sphere
03 Nov 2020

News from the CTIF Commission "Rescue and Firefighting at Airports" 

Fire and Rescue at Airports

CTIF Commission “Rescue and Fire Fighting at Airports” virtual meeting – 7th October 2020. 

Below is a short record of the meeting, with brief but detailed information on what was discussed. One of the most important topics is the changes in environmental regulation around the use of firefighting foam.

 

Presentation about FFF foams.

There has been recent changes in legislation concerning firefighting foams. In firefighting, there is a dispersive use of chemicals which end up in the environment. Customers are concerned about performance gaps. European chemical legislation, which has several parts, is pushing for change.

The most important regulation is POP (persistence / pollution) list which is subject to national restrictions. REACH has been a game changer in the chemical legislation as with it chemicals brought to market need to be proven to be safe to use.

The EC has tasked a company to run a study to limit certain substances (fluorinated carbon substances). A threshold criteria concerning foams needs to be met in all airports in January 1st 2023. After that, those foam agents going over the threshold of PFO8 level need to be replaced unless it is for class B firefighting and have a containment.

Technical cleaning needs to be performed to gear to ensure cleanliness and avoid contamination; waste water of this cleaning needs to be disposed correctly (high-temperature incineration). ECHA plans to have the first legislation draft ready in 2021. Irrespective of the final text, exemptions etc you can consider that fluoride chemicals in firefighting will be very limited if allowed at all. Option is to use fluoride free foams.

Foam needs to have certain qualities to be effective as an extinguishing substance which might be challenged when using fluoride free foams. There is also a conformity gap – all standards have a common principle: you test a foam in a scenario with certain parameters and you can extrapolate the results for “real life”.

This principle might not be true for fluoride free foams – jet fuels have different qualities than regular ones which means normal testing might not give accurate results. Rosenbauer is working on the topic with foam providers  for a solution which would be also financially viable. A cleaning method has been developed for equipment with a partner; their experience says it is possible to clean the metal parts, with plastic (porosity etc) it is more difficult to meet the limit. Cleaning can be 25 000 euro per truck on the site depending on how many hoses need to be changed etc. 

 

Discussion how the airports handle the new situation regarding foam

There has been a discussion to add alcohol to jet fuel. How this affects the foams depends on the amount of alcohol added. Bio kerasin is also a new product made from bio alcohol (ethanol). For this, alcohol resistant foam is not needed. The presentation will be shared with the participants. 

 

Below in the attached files you will find two presentations:

- Vasileios Stephanioros from EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) presented the latest changes in EASA´s regulations for fire & rescue at European airports. This includes the medical and athletic expectations for the firefighters, which will no longer be regulated by the agency in the same way they have been before. From now on, these standards will for the most part significant part be for each country to decide upon by themselves. 

He also talked about practical training, particularly about practicing extinguishing fires in fuels under pressure. There was an information about what the law says; what´s legal regulation and what are recommendations for safe practice. 

- Jørg Winkler fra WinTecCon  (associate CTIF member) talked about the latest in their product line of training modules for airport firefighting. He also showed their mock up for the airport of Dusseldorf.  

 

Meeting Minutes:

09:00 – 09.05 Welcome, Veli-Matti Sääskilahti 

Chair Veli-Matti Sääskilahti opened the meeting. He gave thanks to the board of the Commission for helping out in organizing the meeting online. COVID-19 has postponed the physical meeting but hopefully next year there will be the opportunity to have one. 

09:05 – 09.15 Approval of minutes Ljubljana 2019, Veli-Matti Sääskilahti 

The agenda was accepted as proposed. 

Rules of the meeting were sent prior to the meeting. The meeting is recorded for the purpose of making notes; the recording will not be published or shared with anyone. 

After a round of introduction, a special thanks was sent to Milan for the last year’s meeting in Ljubljana. Chair Sääskilahti went through last meeting’s minutes. Minutes of the meeting were approved. 

09:15 – 09.30 Commission activities, Result of the questionnaire COVID-19, Ole Hansen 

Chair Sääskilahti presented the activities done during last year. Hansen presented the results of the questionnaire sent out regarding cooperation and work done in relation to COVID-19. The situation at the moment is that most try to train as usual but with some changes. 

09:30 – 10.00 News from EASA, Vasileios Stefanioros 

Vasileios presented news from EASA. Topics included medical standards, training fuels at airports etc. There is also regulation from the EU about language proficiency in the maneuvering area. This will be published Oct 8, 2020 and more information will be given towards the end of the year. See ctif.org 

10:00 – 10.15 Break 

10:15 – 10.50 Foam, Aff use in inte future, Dr. Thomas Leonhardt 

 

10:50 – 11.00 Discussion how the airports handle the situation, all participants 

There has been a discussion to add alcohol to jet fuel. How this affects the foams depends on the amount of alcohol added. Biokerosin is also a new product made from bio alcohol (ethanol). For this, alcohol resistant foam is not needed. The presentation will be shared with the participants. 

11:00 – 11.30 Corona virus in airports case Vienna, Manfred Sommerer 

Manfred gave a presentation about COVID-19 in Austria. Emergency planning and procedures have been in place which have mostly been usable also for COVID-19. The flow of information about what is going on is good. Employees and operations need to be aware of the current situation all the time. First confirmed cases in the airport was in the end of January. It took about 7 hours from the authorities to decide what to do with the 3 Chinese persons in question as they had no residency in Austria. In the end, they were taken to hospital. At that time, nobody really knew the severity of the situation. Some facilities were set up which weren’t used in the end such as showers (COVID-19 different from Ebola virus). See ctif.org 

11:30 – 12.30 Break 

12:30 – 13.00

News from the member countries, participants 

Each member country presented their news. In Germany, passenger numbers are very low, air cargo also lower than last year but not as bad. Some airports have issues with providing income for their firefighter crews. Exercises have been cancelled etc. If you want to do a training in a training base, the lockdown has also been extended to companies, and some smaller airports have been closed. Learning how to deal with the virus is ongoing. Fires in parking facilities -  especially with electrical vehicles - is an increasing problem. 

In Sweden the issues are similar to those already mentioned; low traffic etc. 10 out of 40 airports have no traffic at all. At Arlanda airport only one runway is in use and only one of the two fire stations is open. Terminals 2-4 have been closed; all traffic is in terminal 5. In 2019, 80-90 000 passengers per day – now about 12-15 000 passengers per day. Smoke diving test has been reduced due to COVID-19. New fuel is tested (new diesel which is environmentally friendly). 

In Switzerland national directive updated to have minimum requirements for airports. Directive includes minimum level of safety, for example. 

A suggestion was made to have a chat channel or workshop on topics such as EASA regulation or others issues (TRA, fuel). 

13:00 – 14.00 News from companies, see presentations ctif.org 

Dr. Sthamer 

Rosenbauer 

WinTecCon 

Ziegler 

14:00 – 14.10 CTIF News and web page, Ole Hansen 

Ole J. Hansen presented developments in CTIF Executive Committee.

2020 has been a very special year for CTIF as well. All events and face-to-face meetings have been cancelled. Forest fires wanted to have a meeting in November but it was postponed until next year. Delegates’ Assembly should have been held in Interschutz but it was postponed and turned into an online DA. CTIF has 39 member countries, maybe 40 at the end of the year as North Macedonia is interested in the membership. ISO17840 standard has been one of the big topics in CTIF. It includes symbols for the energy that vehicles use, rescue sheets etc. 

14:00 – 14.10 Next annual meeting and conclusion, Veli-Matti Sääskilahti 

Next meeting was discussed and agreed that it will be organized October 2021, if possible, as a physical meeting in Hamburg. The specific time will be discussed in the board meeting in a few weeks’ time. 

Chair Sääskilahti thanked everyone and closed the meeting. 

The presentation will be shared with the participants via CTIF.org web page, see ctif.org 

 

Participants: 

Veli-Matti Sääskilahti, Finland (Chair) 

Taina Hanhikoski, Finland (secretary) 

Peter Tschümperlin, Switzerland (Board) 

Manfred Sommerer, Austria (Board) 

Ole J. Hansen, Norway (Board) 

Florian Monthoux, Switzerland 

Andreas Lochmeier, Switzerland 

Oscar del Campo, Spain 

Philipp Platzl, Rosenbauer 

Roland Weber, Rosenbauer 

Gabor Nagy, Hungary 

Fabian Schmidt, Ziegler 

Jörg Winkler, WinTecCon 

Igors Cavkins, Latvia 

Primoz Mali, Slovenia 

Lars Johansson, Sweden 

Göran Lindgren, Sweden 

Trond Johanger, Norway 

Vasileios Stefanioros, EASA 

Martin Gorski, Sthamer 

Milan Dubravac, CTIF Slovenia 

Dr. Thomas Leonhardt, Sthamer 

 

Photo (Above) A firefighting truck practicing with foam at an airport. Photo by Ph Sphere