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
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
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
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
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.
Aircraft uses two types of fuel –Gasoline and kerosene,
Gasoline comes in three grades :-
Avgas 115/145 dyed
Avgas 100/130 dyed
Avgas 73 : not
All are given an octane rating . Higher
rating does not mean the degree of fire hazard is higher. .
Three types of kerosene is used by the turbine
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 .
Avtur & Avgas – Flash point above 20 degree C is like
gasoline, Rate of flame spread 214- 245 meters per min.
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
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.
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 .
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.
:- 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
:-- 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 .
:- A common shaft between the
turbine and compressor is extended . forward through reduction gear
to turn the propeller .
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.
OTHER FEATURES AND COMPONENTS :-
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
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.
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
Compressed air : for emergency use when hydraulic system
fails . – Black color.
Nitrogen :- for pressurizing fuel tanks . Color –light
gray with black neck.
Oxygen :-400 to 2250 liters at 125 bar pressure for
breathing purpose in emergencies . Up to 12 containers are carried.
Carbon dioxide :- For extinguishing fire and inflating
All the gas containers are pressurized , hence may burst
violently in the event of a fire.
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
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
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
TECHNIQUES OF FIRE FIGHTING AND RESCUE -
ON AND OFF AIRPORTS
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.
AIM OF FIRE FIGHTING -APPLICATION OF
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..
SEQUENCE OF ACTION FOR REMOVAL OF AIR
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
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 :-
Operate the normal external release handle, on the port
side. If jammed - release and pull either port or starboard external
. 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
v) Switch off engine ,HP and LP cock and
battery if possible.
vi) Remove oxygen mask to enable pilot
vii) Render arms to safe position if crashed after armament sortie.
viii) Release pilot from the seat as
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.
ROTARY WING AIRCRAFT --HELICOPTOR :-
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.
AIR PORT AND FACSILITIES AVAILABLE:-
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
emergencies are classified by the air traffic control ( ATC )as
I) Aircraft accidents
- An aircraft accident that has occurred on an
accidents , OFF airports : An accident
involving an aircraft off the airport, within 2 miles of its
accident imminent: An accident not yet
occurred , but considered, inevitable "on "or in the vicinity of the
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
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 .
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.
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.
Unlawful act ( Hijack) :- Aircraft
which may or may not be in flight and has been unlawfully seized .
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
x)Act of Aggression:-
Armed attack or suspected attack.
PRE PLANNING PROCEDURE TO MEET
EMERGENCIES AT AIRPORT :-
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
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 :-
To tackle the main bulk of the wreckage and fire with the
limited resources under him
Wait for reinforcements while his men search for
survivors ,then set up the attack .
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
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
HAZRDS IN MILITERY AIR CRAFT
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.
SPECIAL HAZARDS :
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
(Rtd. Fire Officer