Rtd Fire Officer Sail  

      Fire fighting and rescue operations  when a modern aircraft, crash lands , is different from the firefighting operation faced by the fire crew in a township or a factory.

   The modern passenger aircraft cruising at a speed of 1000kph with a seating capacity of 600  has to carry more fuel than its earlier twin engines  ,even up to 200000 litres. If this aircraft crash-lands, the fire suppression and rescue action calls for extreme speed. ..

    The duty fire appliances posted at the air port are designed, to meet such exigencies – to travel with  speed over rough terrain, carrying large quantity of suppressing agents , and longer reach. Matching rescue and cutting tools are also carried. Aerodromes are categorized in grades according to the type of aircraft and frequency they operate. and manned by specially trained fire crew . The first strike  appliance  known as Rapid intervention vehicle ( RIV ) is geared to a response time of 2 miniatures  to  reach any part of the aerodrome with a fire suppression time of 3 minitues from the start of the fire fighting operations. Therefore  these  appliances carry large quantity of water, foam, and vaporizing liquid. Also are  capable of high discharge of finished foam through monitors to a distance of 80 meters  Are able to produce foam while on the move at slow speeds. Gross weight of the appliances can go up to 28 tons, and in military airfields, appliances  with gross weight up to even 60 tons are posted.  

           Aircraft accidents  occur mainly at the aerodromes / airfields, during, landing or take off ,  where special appliances are available. The fire appliances posted at the airport are designed to over come the difficulties and complete their task successfully .A.fast knocking of the fire and a speedy rescue . Accidents occur .also off the aerodrome while approaching to land and crashes in rural environment to which rescue operations are likely to get delayed due to the rough terrain over which the appliance has to travel. Such  situations require for a coordinated operation  with the local fire brigade also.  A visual and audio alarm in the alarm panel installed in the pilots or engineers cabin alerts the pilot ,if a fire occurs during the flight  indicating the location The pilot operates a switch to direct the vaporizing liquid to the affected compartment through piped lines to  extinguish the fire, The extinguishing agent works for a limited period only.  If the fire is not controlled the pilot  attempts to land on the nearest airfield or a safe area, after informing the air traffic controller .of the area.   

CONSTRUCTION OF AIRCRAFT  : - An aircraft is designed and constructed with materials , which can withstand  the pressure at high altitude flying and the impact when landing.     

   Fuselage or Body :-Body  is  taper shaped , with metal stringers running horizontally along its length. Strong metal frames are placed  vertically on the stringers and the whole body is covered with a metal sheet as skin which is bonded or riveted , A double skin is added to withstand pressure at high altitude and the impact when crash landing . Aluminum alloys used for the construction of the  body, are Duralium, Alcad , and Magnalium ..Stainless steel and Titanium alloy are used for high speed aircraft engines , propellers and structural tubing.

 .Each door is pneumatically  sealed by pressurization with a compressor, driven by the engine A pressure of 1 bar , equal to sea level atmosphere  is maintained inside the aircraft  through out the flight. When nearing the ground automatic vents operate to equalize  gradually the inside pressure , with that of outside. A difference of pressure between inside and outside will make opening of the doors impossible. On such occasions the skin is pierced to equalize pressure or an attack is made on the corner of windows with the axe. when attempting rescue or to fight the fire.

 WINGS : -Tapering metal spars  run from central section to the wing tips or from wing tip to wing tip. Short metal struts run right angle to the spar as ribs .and the whole frame is covered with metal sheet . this sheet can be pierced and severed with axe,. Heavy sections can be cut with axe , hacksaw, or power operated cutting tools. Fuel tanks are held in the wings , and also in the fuselage in some models. and inter connected .Internal baffles are provided in the tanks to prevent surging of fuel . A bonding point  provided for earthing ,  prevents formation of static electricity during refueling Although all the components are made fuel tight , distortion do occur during  accident causing spillage of fuel .

 Flexible tanks made of plastic bags are also fitted on the wings or fuselage and secured by studs . They can withstand shock, but might get cut by jagged metal and emit toxic vapor.

 AUXILIARY TANKS :-Made of plastic are fitted under the wings to increase endurance  for long flight. These tanks are used up first ,and jettisoned . Further requirement is drawn from normal tanks.


 FUEL:   Aircraft uses two types of fuel –Gasoline and kerosene,

 Gasoline comes in three grades :-

                  Avgas 115/145   dyed purple

                   Avgas 100/130   dyed  green .

                  Avgas 73 :           not dyed

 All are given an octane rating . Higher rating does not mean  the degree of  fire hazard is higher. .

Kerosene :-  Three types of kerosene is used by the turbine engines.

        I)    Avtur &Atk –Flash point above 37.8 degree with rate of flame spread, less than 30 meters per min. Two grades are Avtur 40 and Avtur 50 .

ii)                   Avtur & Avgas – Flash point above 20 degree C is like gasoline,  Rate of flame spread 214- 245 meters per min.

iii)                 Avcat – Flash point above 65 degree C , distilled for use in Naval aircraft.

Kerosene  grades of fuel will not form an ignitable mixture at normal temperature , and pressure . but when heated in the form of spray or mist will ignite readily or when sprayed on hot engine parts as would, when involved in a crash landing . Once ignited will produce as much heat as the flame of petrol.

 Some military aircraft use Avpin  ( Isopropylnitrate)  in liquid  form as fuel for engine starting system . This unusual fuel produce its own oxygen , hence burns fiercely with out  air supply. With a flash point of 10 degree C is toxic when burning .Have wide range of inflammability .Is heavier than air and lighter than water and no miscible.


ENGINES :- Aircraft engines are designed to accelerate a mass of air,  rearward .The  reaction from this thrust , propels the aircraft forward .The acceleration can be by an external propeller or an internal compressor .

 PISTON ENGINES :-  Large aircraft operate with piston engines  Due to the rich mixture of fuel, fires  occur at times  when starting the engines . The pilot shuts off the fuel supply line and switch off the engine. Carbon dioxide or vaporizing liquid is used to extinguish such fires . Water fog also can be applied if the fire has not spread to the bulk head . Foam is applied only in extreme cases , as use of foam requires dismantling , cleaning the engine before reassembling .Other  likely causes of fire are due to broken fuel lines damaged by impact on crash landing . The flowing fuel will ignite if close to the hot exhaust  ducting , or sparks from severed electric wiring . Flowing fuel is prevented from reaching other areas, by bunding or covering  with foam.

 TURBO JETS :- Turbine accelerates the mixture of compressed gases and hot air out of the engine through an air pipe , fitted with variable exhaust cones or nozzles facing to the rear.

 TURBO FANS :-- Operates with two compressor assemblies,. The forward compressor acts as an internal airscrew and also supply air for the compressor to function as a turbo jet .

 TURBO PROP :- A common shaft between the turbine and compressor is extended . forward through reduction gear to turn the propeller .

  IGNITION SYSTEM :-  Ignition system  in a piston engine aircraft is operated by magnetos, which is different from the car ignition system where the battery supply the power . The operative switch is located in the pilots or engineers cabin . The switches are “OFF” when in down position .As a safety precaution it is important to switch off the master switch and  if possible  also to disconnect battery terminals on reaching the incident site.



  Pressured and powered system :- Internal spaces of air frame are closely packed with components , pipe works ,cables and ducts for various systems . In large aircraft most of  them run through the cargo holds and can be found in many different places. This can aggravate fire and impede penetration of extinguishing agents.

HYDRAULIC  AND DEICING SYSTEM S :-  The operation of undercarriage , flaps and brakes are done  by the hydraulic systems ( pressurized liquid )for which castor oil /alcoholic mixture , certain mineral oils or similar liquids are used .The capacity varies from 5 liters to 225 liters and  held  at 70bar pressure in the hydraulic system.

 ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:-This is located in the pilots or engineers areas to operate a number of devices and special equipments like Radar and navigational aids .They are powered  either by batteries or engine driven alternators with rectification to direct current . Engines may have their own batteries or powered by a central battery  position to provide the reserve , peak or starting loads, Firemen should exercise caution when operating the switches as this is likely to cause a spark if severed cables are present , and ignite the flammable vapor around. .

 AUXILIARY POWER UNIT (APU ):-_Is located in the tail cone area and operated only when aircraft is on the ground , to run various services , when main engines are off and to restore the levels of charge in the battery.


 PRESSURZATION  AND AIR conditioning :- The engine driven compressor pressurizes to pneumatically seal each specially strengthened  door of the fuselage. . The pressure inside the aircraft  is maintained  at 1 bar(equal to normal sea level atmospheric pressure  ) through out the flight. When nearing the ground  , the automatic vents operate to equalize both inside and outside pressure. .


COMPRESSED GASES :-  Are carried in different containers for various purposes on board of an aircraft and color coded  for easier identification. They are

1)      Compressed air : for emergency use when hydraulic system fails . – Black color.

2)       Nitrogen :- for pressurizing fuel tanks . Color –light gray with black neck.

3)       Oxygen :-400 to 2250 liters at 125 bar pressure for breathing purpose in emergencies . Up to 12 containers are carried. on board

4)       Carbon dioxide :-  For extinguishing fire and inflating chutes -

5)       All the gas containers are pressurized , hence may burst violently in the event of a fire.

6)       SEATING :-- Seating and seat belts are of importance to the firemen during rescue operation Both seat and belts are adjustable and easy to operate. The space between adjacent seats can be as little as 740mm, known as pitch. Rescue operation will be impeded in this restricted space .Firemen should familiarize with it when opportunity occurs as the seating arrangements vary with air craft and not standard.



AIRCRAFT  ACCESS and EXIT DOORS - Normal entrance into the aircraft is through the main door located on the port side or under nose with instructions stenciled on it .Some doors can be opened ,only from inside . .One man can open most doors The number of doors and size is related to the carrying capacity of the aircraft. Doors are readily identified in contrasting colors with instructions as how to open ,There are different types of opening , hinged and open outwards, pushing and slide ,                                           

Most passenger aircraft have a number of exits to  facilitate rapid escape of all occupants in the event of an emergency landing .

ENERGENCY HATCHES :- Fitted in most large civil aircraft in the form of window panels ,designed to fall outwards or inwards on operating a release mechanism and ,is meant primarily as escape routes in case of ditching . Other emergency hatches may be found on top of the fuselage with instructions written to operate and marked by outline bands in contrasting colors  .These can be opened both from outside or  inside .

BREAKING POINTS :- Are provided at areas between airframes where no internal obstructions exit. e.g. Electric cables, hydraulic pipe lines and fuel pumps .Are indicated by broken lines with  instructions stenciled for breaking in. They are located at points well inside of the fuselage.  Firemen should attempt other points for entry, before cutting away .at these points.

 WINDOWS:-  Are constructed with strong transparent  plastic Should be avoided for rescue purposes as far as possible.

 EVACUATION ; Emergency stairs:-, Aircraft with rear entrances are fitted with stairs for embarking and disembarking . They are lowered by hydraulic system and can be hand pumped also  in emergencies.


 ESCAPE SLIDES AND CHUTES :-For rapid evacuation in emergencies slides are provided at doors , and emergency exits. Inflatable and non inflatable ,are two types  in use. Inflatable are self supporting made of rubber and nylon and filled with nitrogen or carbon dioxide. .

NON INFLATABLE  constructed by synthetic material and require support when in use, hand holds are provided, . In modern aircraft slides operate automatically when the door is opened from inside in an emergency . When opened from outside is automatically disarmed to prevent injury ,

 FLIGHT RECORDER - BLACK BOX :-All aircraft carry , a flight recorder , in the rear part of the body next, to rear door , called the black box . This is an important component which records details of all the functions through all the stages of operations and is valuable for the investigating the cause of accident . Is an important component to be recovered from the crash site . Is painted florescent red color for readily identifying in dark .Is  strong to resist shock and fire. If found during rescue work should not be disturbed ,but inform the senior officer at the site.


 FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEM:- Fire extinguishing system is provided in most aircraft. Larger types have an automatic detection system which sounds an alarm indicating the location of fire, . Pilot switches on, the system to release the extinguishing media to the affected cabin. Vaporizing  liquid or a combination of freon and nitrogen gas  are  located in containers  at different parts of the aircraft .The discharge is very brief between one to five seconds and the system is intended to meet a situation in a wholly enclosed compartment .e.g. engine , luggage and fuel. Extinguishing agent may disperse through damaged holes or be overwhelmed by large free flowing fuel fires. If cylinders are not discharged and involved in a fire , may burst at an early stage



 Features of aircraft fires :- A considerable portion of an aircraft is occupied by highly flammable systems. Even at the end of a flight from one airport to another, large  amount of fuel  will still be left on board . Most accident occur on landing or take off . When fire occurs in flight and, the pilot is unable to reach an airport in time, he  will force land elsewhere , off the airport . Such incidents require the first turn out crew ,to create the best conditions for rescue and fire fighting .

 A serious crash will cause the fuel to escape which will ignite immediately. Other sources also will ignite after impact  and the fire will reach its peak intensity rapidly.. Aircraft may be on its belly , broken in several sections scattered on the grass or off the runway  The duty appliances at the air port are specially designed to meet such situations , which carry large quantity of extinguishing media with required  cutting tools and equipments and travel with speed .


 BASIC FIRE FIGHTING:_ The first turn out appliance - Rapid intervention vehicle, to reach the site must be  deployed, to the best advantage , taking care to keep the doors and escape slides usable for passengers  escaping The appliance must be able to apply foam or other extinguishing media , dry powder while on the move , to  keep a moving fire in check .The wind directions is to be noted to assist projecting the extinguishing agent to


the best advantage, The first appliance and the back up appliances must be positioned up wind and subsequently move as the extinguishing progresses .If the aircraft is at rest  , off the runway on soft ground , the appliances should be parked on the nearest hard solid ground and hand lines deployed to reach the fire. The fuel flowing on the ground is likely to be a risk for both crew and appliances hence should be adequately covered .If already ignited the practice is to knock off the flame with dry chemical powder followed with a blanket of foam. If the engine is still running the crew must keep off the line of intake and the exhaust.



I) keep the fire away from the escaping passengers and  crew engaged in rescue work.

ii)Flame should be knocked first and a seal with foam maintained  to prevent re- ignition .

iii)If fire penetrates fuselage , rapid steps should be taken to introduce a water spray to cool and prevent a fast build up of heat and smother smoke which can trap people inside the aircraft. Water spear, which combines penetration with spray, is used. Quick decision is to be made for the method and point of entry and ventilation, by the first turn out The cooling fog is to be kept on to prevent a flash over, leaking  fuel lines  to be sealed off.

Although metal catching fire is remote, as the alloys does not ignite , their melting point being well below the ignition point  caution is to be exercised to avoid contacting melted. metal flowing out from the heat sources, When breaking in .care is to be taken not to injure the trapped passengers or to ignite  the  fuel vapor by sparks Breaking in should not be attempted from the under side of fuselage, where cable lines , hydraulic pipe lines and fuel pumps are fit. On entering the crashed aircraft , the internal fire is to be knocked out first and fuselage ventilated . Do not interfere with power control or electrical switches unless absolutely necessary . Form a chain of rescuers and release all trapped survivors . Persons suffering from asphyxia or hemorrhage should be attended first and removed to safety. Rescuers must wear gloves to avoid infection .,When causalities are to be released from the seats by cutting the belts,   the cut must be done sideways  from inside to outwards, away from the persons body to avoid injuring him.

 RESCUE AND APPROACH:- The first approach should be made through the passenger doors  through ,which it  is easier to carry a person , than to manipulate him through a window.

 EMERGENCY ACCESS :- When access is not possible through the main doors, the emergency exists should be tried,  Removing windows must be firmly handled as they are heavy , The exits over the wing will present some hazard if at a height due the position of the crash . In most of the aircraft these exits are fitted with an escape line .Rescuers will  assist passengers to descend by this rope.

RESCUE FROM MILITERY AIRCRAFT :- BOMBERS AND FIGHTERS --Call to military aircraft will not involve rescue , as the crew would have baled  or ejected out, .Firemen must avoid passing in front of the weapon rack .of the crashed aircraft . The only access for the crew, in  a crashed military aircraft is the canopy, which has to be removed completely to effect rescue. Follow the instructions stenciled outside , to remove canopy and the injured personnel. Keep all vehicles away at a safe distance  when canopy is released.


MINIATURE DETONATING CORD:- MDC . This is a device to be used as a last resort to release the canopy, when normal release mechanism fails. Precautions are to be taken as this device is likely to project fragments of canopy as far as 20 meters . Rescuer should approach the cockpit in full view of the aircrew, and be ready to act on any signal from  them . When about to operate the MDC , follow the instructions stenciled :, crouch down as low as possible keeping face away from the cockpit. Wear a flash hood as an additional safety. If involved in a fire and the MDC has become detached , keep well away and do not touch the same as it may detonate. As a last resort canopy can be smashed with an axe or other tools .

 EJECTION SEAT :- Has power full ejection mechanism This should be put “on     safe” when attempting to rescue-- by inserting  the safety pin into the hole behind the head of the seat .. If there are indications that unsuccessful ejection  attempt has been made i.e.-- face blind being out or seat pan handle loose  - canopy must not be touched..


 I)MAKE the seat (s) safe by inserting the safety pin .

ii)Remove oxygen mask leaving helmet on, if head injuries are suspected.

iii)Release the personal equipment connection by pressing the thumb release and raising the handle.

 iv) Release the survival pack connections .

 v)Release the combined parachute and seat harness by turning clockwise and pressing inwards

vi) If the restraints are not released automatically, lifting a small lever at the side of the seat will release them . The straps have to be cut .if lever cannot be located.

 SAFETY PINS ;- I) Main firing T shaped pin for ejection seat

 ii) Rocket initiated safety pin,  at  left side bottom of the seat with round disc.

iii) Primary firing unit safety pin . located at top of the ejection seat with round disc. 

 iv) Manual operation handle safety pin .Located at the starboard side bottom of the seat with round disc.

 PROCEDURE  to release trapped personnel :-

i)                    Operate the normal external release handle, on the port side. If jammed - release and pull either port or starboard external release

 . ii) Pitch portable ladder on starboard side in the housing .

 iii) Insert primary fire unit safety pin, to render ejection seat safe.

iv) If MDC Is not operated , lock canopy MDC by inserting safety pin to the internal "D" handle on the port side.

 v) Switch off engine ,HP and LP cock and battery if possible.

vi) Remove oxygen mask to enable pilot breath freely.                                                       vii) Render arms to safe position if crashed after armament sortie.

viii) Release pilot from the seat as follows :-

      a) Disconnect parachute , dingy, and R/T connections .

      b)Release the legs restraining lines .

      c) Release the safety harness.

   Position yourself inside the cock pit , heave and lift the pilot assisted by other crew and evacuate him to a safe zone. If the aircraft is upside down, the pilot has to be supported . Leave all switches alone Causalities should be carried or led to an upwind designated area to a minimum distance of 50 meters  away from the aircraft.



  Helicopters range from 2 to 4 seaters , with fuel capacity of 90 to 7900 litres . Construction is similar to fixed wing aircraft but lighter in design . Cabin is not pressurized for high altitude flight . Have small under carriage assemblies . Body is covered with very light alloy thin sheet metal , Helicopters operating over water are fitted with floating equipment with water accuating devices, fitted in the sponsons on the wheels, which operate by blowing off a metal cover and inflating a bag of approximately 1.5 meter in diameter . A crash on land could open this device accidentally and firemen must keep clear off the wheels If the bag get inflated, can be cut if required. 

 ENGINE   The engines are enclosed in the fuselage. Some have engines above and behind, and separated from air frames .Bulkheads are of fire resisting material.

  ROTARS :-  Most helicopters have one large overhead rotor and a smaller rotor at the tail . Rotor posses a hazard while approaching , hence .must exercise caution. The engine may still ,be running even after a crash  in some cases,  or the tail rotor alone be rotating even if the main rotor is damaged due to the speed of the crash .

  Being light in construction helicopter will not  stand up to the heavy impact of the crash . Normally the under carriage ,rotors, and the tail unit disintegrate leaving the cabin or fuselage as the main debris. With less fuel the possibility of a serious fire is also less in a helicopter crash , than with the fixed wing aircraft.

 APPROACH--Great caution is to be taken when approaching to effect rescue if the engine is still running and rotor turning . Even if the engine is cut off the main rotor will  still continue to rotate for some more time . The tips of the rotor blades will sag lower and lower as they loose speed and reach normal head level . Approach may have to be done by crouching or on hands and knees. Good approach would be from the rear , close to the fuselage where the rotor will be away from body height.

 RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING --Absence of wings make the helicopter to roll on to one side in a crash ,On such situations the rescuers will have to climb  upon to the side of the helicopter to get access to the cabin . Access cannot be done through the belly Hence access will have to be made through the doors and windows located on the sides .Trapped occupants will have to be  removed with the help of cutting tools.



 Adequate emergency facilities are provided in all air ports, based on the frequency of air traffic and by the length and width of the aircraft using the airports. The minimum requirement of appliances to be on duty at he airport is specified  depending on the category of air port .Large capacity appliances capable of travelling speedily  , over the rough terrain with sufficient  extinguishing media and rescue tools is the norm. Gross weight of 28 tons is posted as duty appliances. in some airport there are heavier appliances.

RESPONSE TIME and operational ability :- First strike appliance should be able to reach the incident site in 2 minutes ,to any part of the airport. Must be able to project finished  foam through monitors to a distance of 80 meters and also be able to produce foam while moving at slow speed to smother the fire. Hand lines  to be provided for all normal requirements. First strike appliances must initiate rescue operation and take fire suppression action while waiting for reinforcement.


  GRID  MAP OF AIRPORT :-  Grid map of airport give all details of topography , access roads and location of water sources available . Fire station where an airport come under their station ground or are adjacent to the airport , are likely to be called for assistance . The station officer of these stations must obtain the grid map of the airport and acquaint themselves with the problems likely to be encountered. Periodical visits with their crew is to be  conducted to update the details of operating air craft and the facilities available 



 All movements in an airport is controlled by the Air traffic control services, for both military and civil aircraft and emergency calls are received by the fire station from this control.

  Types of emergencies are classified by the air traffic control ( ATC )as follows :-  

 I) Aircraft accidents - An aircraft accident that has occurred on an airport.

 ii) Aircraft accidents , OFF airports : An accident involving an aircraft off the airport, within 2 miles of its boundary.

 iii) Aircraft accident imminent: An accident not yet occurred , but considered, inevitable "on "or in the vicinity of the airport .

iv) Aircraft ground incident :- An aircraft on the ground which is or is suspected to be involved in an accident which might endanger the safety of the aircraft or its passengers .

 v) Full emergency :- An aircraft in flight , known or suspected to be in such difficulty that there is a danger of an accident on landing .This category can be classified in unlawful acts category. .eg: hijack .

 vi) Local stand by :- An aircraft in flight has developed some problem , which is considered serious by the captain preventing a safe landing eg A bomb warning when search has to be initiated.

 vii) Domestic services and special services :- A domestic fire inside the airport boundary which might be dangerous to life and property . A special service call is when fire service equipment and personnel are required to assist l with incidents other than fire.

 viii)  Unlawful act ( Hijack) :- Aircraft which may or may not be in flight and has been unlawfully seized .

 ix) BOMB threat  :- When information is received that bomb is on board of the aircraft which may be in or not in flight. Falls under local stand by or ground incident category

 x)Act of Aggression:- Armed attack or suspected attack.



  All airport formulate an emergency order to ensure adequate arrangements are laid to meet an emergency or crisis when services of other allied agencies also will be required . It is a usual practice to have a rendezvous point near the exit gates to which all the concerned services  i.e Local fire brigade , ambulances and, police will report and stand by, till called in for their turn for a rapid back up to the airport fire and rescue services. Some  communication system is set up at this rendezvous point for smooth operation An airport guide vehicle will lead these appliances and team to the scene of accident , while keeping a constant contact with the air traffic control at the tower, who also will be monitoring their  movements .  Duty A.T.C, officer is responsible for alerting the emergency services , by telephone link to the airport fire and rescue services from where it is relayed to the local fire stations and other services. Police will be notified by the  A.T.Control. Initialy the senior airport fire service officer will be in command , on arrival of the local fire brigade officer at the scene, he will assume command , without altering the deployment of air port fire service appliances without sufficient reasons, as the airport fire service have the tactical plans to cover eventualities. Beyond 2 miles of the airport boundry  the local fire service will have to fend for themselves with their own appliances. The airport fire service will attend only on reduced capacity. When aircraft involve in an accident near a large area  of water , the emergency order provide,calling assistance from COAST GAURD and Marine organizations Assistance from Armed forces will be called for AIR SEA RESERVE Helicopter .when circumstances require.

   This notes provide the basics on  fire fighting at the airport and air crashes . The officer in charge of the fire services both airport and local fire brigade will have to interact regularly to train their force, by visiting and updating knowledge, as the aircraft design keep changing with time .Practice drills have to be conducted at regular intervals to keep these plans efficient and maintain in top form  This is essential as fire fighting and rescue work in an air craft accident calls for speed and good coordination. .    

     RESCUE WORK :-Priority is rescue and evacuation of injured passengers.. Methods of rescue depend on the type of aircraft and the attitude  e.g.-wheels up, nose down and if on fire and in one piece. Rescue is done speedily  with care, without  aggravating  their injuries . Removal from the fire threatened area should be the primary concern .Rescue and fire -fighting work is to go simultaneously . unlike in other areas, where rescue is given priority.

     Gaining entry  :   In serious crashes aircraft breaks and the question of entry will not arise , except to release trapped occupants from the pieces of wreckage by cutting . In less severe cases entry can be gained by rescuers through one are more access points mentioned earlier Occasionally, depending on the landing  impact one or more engines may still be running . The firemen must approach from the wing tips on such situations . and keep a distance of 7.5 meters away from the intake, and beyond  45 meters, from the exhaust side to avoid being burnt . Caution to be exercised when on ladders . Escape slides open suddenly can block the doors, which  can be punctured for access.

 INCIDENTS OFF AIRPORT:-When emergency develops during  flight, the pilot may be forced to make an emergency  landing off the airport, which may cause a structural failure , or plunge into a built up area and cause damage . Calls for such incidents will come to the local fire brigade from the concerned ATC .who has to respond quickly. . When such calls are received by the local fire station the receiver must obtain as much information possible to locate the site.

 APPROACHING  THE SITE   :-  Rural area crash :- when responding to rural area incidents fire appliances must :-

 Ensure good ground clearance while proceeding , and avoid getting bogged down ,in soft area, and block the approach for reinforcing  appliances, . Should maintain a sharp  look out for survivors thrown out and crawled away  to safety . After locating the crash the first turn out  must send a message giving full details and the requirement  for further


assistance. A guide be posted or  portable lights placed  if at night to indicate the route in and out  for the reinforcing teams ..

 The officer in charge of the first turn out must decide whether to :-

i)                    To tackle the main bulk of the wreckage and fire with the limited resources under him

ii)                    Wait for reinforcements while his men search for survivors ,then set up the attack .

iii)                  Use the water with him to prevent the fire spreading .

All appliances should be parked upwind and on higher ground to avoid the spilt fuel or vapor from the incident .reaching  them

 The search must be made over a fairly wide area along the slide path and around the final wreckage  point for survivors and injured or collapsed passengers., ejected crew and casualties A list of passengers must be obtained from ATC and tallied with the located survivors.. Casualties should be assumed to be alive unless it is absolutely clear they are dead .

Crashes involving building :- Aircraft will break up when crashes onto buildings , spreading the fire over a large area , with small fires developing . All sources of ignition  e.g.  radios ,generators should be shut down in the buildings close to the crash ,  occupants of buildings in danger must be advised to leave by the safest route , Windows, doors facing aircraft should be closed . All sources of ignition should be switched off.   Fuel not yet ignited should be covered with foam and all persons in the vicinity warned to put out their  fires , not to smoke. If fuel has run into drains it must be flushed out with water.

 Crashes  into water:- Fuel leaked into water should be broken up by jets of water, or covered with foam or AFFF to prevent ignition and spreading Sections of fuselage found floating with passengers should be  carefully handled with the help of divers .Rescuers must beware of getting trapped inside the fuselage.


    Small arms ammunition : - Danger from small arm ammunition is remote unless fire occurs If occurs fragments will be projected to a distance of 70 meters Though no mass explosion will occur , small explosions will occur with increasing frequency as the fire take hold Best protection is to keep low , avoid passing in front of nozzles of guns and cool the ammunition belt with water spray.

 Bombs or training bombs normally does not explode on impact of crash as the fuses are likely not been set . Firemen should not approach closer than 300meters except for saving lives , must take cover to protect  from flying debris. Training bombs will produce lot of smoke and flash, hence eyes must be protected  Bombs  likely to be heated must be cooled with water spray , till experts arrive.

 ROCKET PROJECTILES :-Missiles would have broken free from pylons reducing involvement in a fire . Apply  water spray .to cool them.


 Dangerous substance may be encountered in civil cargo  and military aircraft  U.N.numbering system is given for containers with dangerous substances to identify the risk category . These should be fought with appropriate agents and methods  if ignites,

Firemen must avoid touching or treading on any suspect equipment .

 POST ACCIDENT DISCIPLNE:--It is the responsibility of all personnel at the scene to ensure safety, and preservation of evidence for the investigation team Rescuers must note original position of aircraft  wreckage , switch controls and levers , and should not move parts where possible , to preserve evidence.

 BODIES AND PERSONAL EFFECTS :-- Bodies should not be disturbed after identification ,.All personal effects collected are to be listed and handed to police. 


 Compiled by T.V.K.Raman Rtd. Fire officer  SAIL  Phone 24470848


                                                                                           T.V.K RAMAN

                                                                                          (Rtd. Fire Officer Sail)

                                                                                          Ph: 24470848