Earlier in September 2020, a group of Guernsey Airport firefighters completed their training in the Isle of Man to obtain revalidation of their fire service skills through the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC). The IFTC is based at Durham Tees Valley Airport in the UK is used by Guernsey and Isle of Man Airports to send their firefighters to be trained and or revalidated.
Fire Service Manager at Guernsey Airport Thomas de Carteret said: “By taking advantage of the recent ‘air bridge’ flights from Guernsey to the Isle of Man operated by Aurigny. Both Airport Fire and Rescue Services were able to come up with a cost effective way of receiving the required training from the IFTC, without the necessary COVID-19 self-isolation requirements that would have been very disruptive for both our Fire Services.
“This experience has been very positive, and I would like to thank Isle of Man Airport for able to accommodate our firefighters and for being excellent hosts. Credit is also due to the IFTC for allowing one of their examiners to visit the Isle of Man for the course and Aurigny for enabling the trip to go ahead”.
The revalidation of airport firefighters is a regulatory requirement set by the UK Civil Aviation Authority that must be carried out every four years. The airport firefighters from Guernsey and the Isle of Man had to deal with a range of training scenarios from aircraft engine or undercarriage fires to aviation fuel spills using specialist airport fire appliances, equipment and training rigs.
Guernsey Airport Fire Services’ Training Co-ordinator Pete Bretel said: “Revalidation is an important part of the training and development of airport firefighters and is a chance to apply skills already learnt but also adapt to the latest new techniques and best practice in putting out fires in an aviation environment. All crews worked efficiently as one unit and achieved the required revalidation qualifications.
“I would like to thank all parties that made this trip possible, the hosts Isle of Man Airport, the IFTC and Aurigny. Should the Guernsey – Isle of Man ‘air bridge’ continue in some form in the future, and UK based options are not available, this method of training delivery will be considered again”.
The trip saved considerable amounts of time and money for both airports as the COVID-19 pandemic means a number of travel restrictions are in presently in place. Head of Airport Fire Service for Isle of Man Airport Matt Shaw said:
“It was a real pleasure to play host to our colleagues from Guernsey and the IFTC, in what was a first for the Isle of Man. Both Fire Teams worked well together showing what true teamwork is all about. Our thanks to everyone who played a part in ensuring the course was a success, and we hope this will be start of similar events in the future”.