Home Safety Experts task Airport Firefighters on prompt response, inter-agency collaboration

Experts task Airport Firefighters on prompt response, inter-agency collaboration

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L-R Director DAAS NCAA, Engr. Tayib Adetunji, Director Operations FAAN, Captain Rabi'u Yadudu and Group Captain John Ojikutu rtd at the ARFFS event in Lagos
Aviation stakeholders want officers of the Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting Service (ARFFS) to enhance and up its response time in the event of air crashes within and outside the airports to save more lives.
They emphasized that for safety to be adhered to, swift reactions and responses should be taken seriously by the ARFFS officials in case of emergencies, pointing out that sadly, over the years they only ended up recovering rather than rescuing victims from most air crashes that have occurred so far in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Centurion Security and Safety Consults, Group Captain, John Ojikutu, while speaking at the event marking the 2019 International Firefighters’ Day Celebration, themed: “Upscaling Inter-Agency Collaboration with Effective Implementation of the Airport Emergency Plan” pointed out that to effectively mitigate air fatalities within and outside the airport environment, ARFFS as an arm should develop fire crash map as well as formulate an emergency management plan which will incorporate all stakeholders involved in case of an accident.
Ojikutu lamented that there was no reason for the Sosoliso crash that occurred at the Port Harcourt airport could not be salvaged on time, noting that the plane crashed right in front of a fire station.
Group Captain John Ojikutu
In his words: “When a crash occurs, the first people the Control Tower will call is the Fire Service, so work with NAMA. The Sosoliso crash
that happened in Port Harcourt is very pathetic because the crash occurred right in front of a Fire Service station.”
“When the crash happened, radios in the Fire Service station were not working for them to reach out for help. Also, there was no water even
in their reservoir, so they were just looking at the airplane burning with passengers inside”
He further cited the fire incident that engulfed the Owerri and Abuja airports, stressing that the way forward was for ARFFS to cooperate
with other agencies to effectively rescue the victims in case of emergencies.
“As ARFFS, we need to cooperate with the medical team and security agencies. In case of an emergency, these three groups are very important. How many medical kits do we have? Do we have facilities to rescue 20 people?. You must cooperate with the hospitals and provide facilities like beds to them so that in case of an emergency, they can attend to the casualties faster” Ojukutu said.
He, however, tasked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that airline operators, handling companies at the airport have their emergency management plan in case of unforeseen challenges.
Speaking in the same vein, Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Engr. Tayib Adetunji  noted that NCAA is not perfect but stressed that the authority was working tirelessly to ensure that every airport in the country have adequate facilities to combat fire outbreak.
Adetunji charged ARFFS to discharge their duties effectively and develop their integrity profile emphasizing that the regulatory authority will
always keep its standards.
“For instance, when we were called upon to open Bayelsa airport; we discovered that there was no perimeter fence, their fire tenders were not working and because of that we refused to open the airport and we gave them some open items. I have seen an airport where only battery of a fire tender keeps such facilities lying fallow” he stressed.

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