It has been a very busy period for the Airport Fire and Rescue Service making best use of the reduced airline schedule to undertake some essential elements of its mandated training.

Three of its Firefighters recently attended and successfully completed an Incident Command Level 1 course at the Fire Service College (FSC) in Moreton-In-Marsh, Gloucestershire, UK.

Prior to the course, Firefighters Daniel Cornelio, Lee Muscat and Jonathan Falero were required to produce a number of distance learning assignments spread over some weeks. Subsequently during the week-long course at the FSC they completed further Incident Command work elements which encompassed theoretical instruction and the use of virtual reality software to allow for the large variety of incident simulations which they needed to practice on. This, added to practical training on the fire ground with very realistic exercise scenarios, prepared them well towards achieving good overall results in their final assessments.

The experiences gained throughout such a comprehensive course has prepared them well in their first stage of the essential decision making skills necessary for operational commanders who will be expected to lead fire crews operationally at their respective level. The three firefighters have now achieved a Skills for Justice Award in Initial Incident Command (ICL 1) in Fire and Rescue Services, which are UK nationally recognised qualifications

Also during October, the whole of AFRS firefighting complement undertook a range of refresher and update sessions on fire service operational matters and Incident Command, conducted remotely by SimTrainer UK Ltd. The team delivering the on-line sessions were highly experienced fire officers making them well-versed tutors in incident management and guidance.

SimTrainer UK is a City and Guilds ILM approved training provider recognised across the UK and internationally for high quality, interactive and immersive training courses with clients which include many of the UK’s major airports, fire and rescue services and large companies.

Instruction and updated information was received on fire service related topics and also presented with a range of virtual reality incident simulations. Fire Crews worked in syndicates to identify and address all risks, hazards and other relevant matters and allow them to formulate a safe and effective action plan. Firefighters were subsequently assessed at the standard expected for their respective rank with very positive feedback coming from the assessors on the levels of knowledge and performance they had witnessed.

This was the AFRS’s first fully remote delivery of training via an on-line platform. The instructive and informative sessions were very successful and resulted in excellent engagement and interaction from all the participants.

Mindful of the challenging times COVID-19 has created, these sessions have gone some way to address the training, knowledge and understanding required of the AFRS, something which it is mandated to undertake for recertification purposes within the aviation industry. On-site practical assessments will be carried out with SimTrainer UK further ahead once the situation changes and it is safe for the instructors to travel.