The Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting unit of Mangaluru International Airport has enhanced the mandated protocols set as per the strict norms that the aviation sector has defined. Strengthening manpower, statutory exercises, augmenting training for its personnel, following SOPs, and mutual ideation with their counterparts, ARFF strives to create a safe, secure, and efficient air hub.
Mangaluru International Airport has enabled the ARFF unit at this category 7 airports by recruiting the mandated numbers. From 37 ARFF personnel in 2020, Mangaluru International Airport has increased the ARFF personnel strength to 72 to serve the stakeholders effectively. This enables ARFF to have 17 personnel per shift against 12 personnel earlier, giving them the operational edge.
An important operational milestone was met in October 2021 when ARFF ensured operational readiness of all five airport crash fire tenders including three crash fire tenders and two rapid intervention vehicles. ARFF premises including the emergency medical centre commissioned in 2010 were refurbished in their entirety. ARFF has also introduced DCP-type fire extinguishers.
MIA, which conducted a mandatory full-scale aerodrome emergency exercise in 2018, repeated it on 4th May 2022 with all stakeholders. The successful conduct of the tabletop exercise on 28th December 2021 underlined the seriousness that ARFF gives to statutory requirements. ARFF also undertook familiarization exercises and capacity building for multiple stakeholders between these two major exercises.
Understanding that collaboration with their counterparts in Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services and other fire and emergency services units from the adjoining industrial units is vital, the ARFF unit continues to strengthen this bond for mutual aid in times of crisis. ARFF is also mulling formalizing this arrangement with the respective units in the form of MoUs.
The ARFF personnel also completed a pressure-fed fuel firefighting course with assistance from ONGC at Goa for future requirements. Ongoing swimming and proposed hilly terrain rescue training for its personnel with assistance from units that specialize in such rescue systems will only add to the overall professional capability of this relatively young, fit and agile force.
With an eye on enhancing operational capability and being future-ready, ARFF has further acquired new water pumps, and protective suits for its personnel, and started in-house foam induction ratio testing. ARFF is also in the process of procuring other essential equipment including two ambulances that will help make this unit a self-sustaining one and ready to meet emergent situations with ease.