AIRPORT RESCUE AND FIRE
The principal objective of an airport rescue and fire fighting service is to save lives in the event of an aircraft accident or incident and to provide first aid to the passengers/crews till the arrival of regular medical team. Property endangered by aircraft incidents and accidents occurring on or near aircraft should be preserved as far as practicable. The fire fighting service provided at Paro Airport is at ICAO Category 6 level.
The Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) is under the administrative control of the Director, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) of the Ministry of Information & Communication.
The Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) was available in smaller scale under the administration of the Indian Air Force Element (IAFE) for their military aircraft operation before the introduction of Druk Air operations by the Royal Government some time in 1983.
ARFFS duties & responsibilities remained under the control of the IAFE until November 30th 2000, even after the Bhutan Government started its national carrier Druk Air in 1983. The then the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) took over the duties & responsibilities of ARFFS from the IAEF on 30thNovember 2000. DCA started to develop the ARFFS as per the ICAO standards & requirements immediately after taking it over from the IAFE.
AIRPORT CRASH FIRE TENDERS
Our fleet of airport firefighting vehicles here at Paro International Airport consists of three major Crash Fire Tenders (CFT), with one support fire pick up van and ambulance. Rosenbaure CFT is 2014 (6x 6), built by Rosenbaure Company in Austria and commissioned in December 2014. This vehicle carries 7500 liters of water, 1000 liters of 6% AFFF foam concentrate, and 250 kilograms of dry chemical. It is radio designated as “Rosenbaure CFT”.
Two major Crash Fire Tenders, which are radio designated as “CFT-1’’ and “MAN CFT”. MAN CFT is a 2010 Crash Fire Tender built on MAN 6X6 chassis built by Kooverji Devshi & Co, Pvt Ltd. of India, Mumbai and carries 6500 liters of water, 800 liters of 6% AFFF foam concentrate, and 150 kilograms of dry chemical. CFT-1 is a 1997 Crash Fire Tender built on a KAROSA/ TATRA-815 6X6 chassis built by Bhartiya Vehicles & Engg.co Ltd. of India, New Delhi and carries 8200 liters of water, 800 liters of 6% AFFF foam concentrate. All CFTs can be operated numerically and manually as well.
While we do not carry any specialized rescue tools on our vehicles, we do carry the minimum tools that are required by ICAO standards RFF category 6.
PERSONNEL & TRAINING
The Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) currently operates with a total of 60 personnel, including two Sr. Fire & Rescue Officer, two Fire & Rescue Officer, five Fire & Rescue Foremen, forty four fire crew (firefighters), and seven fire drivers. Out of 60 personnel, five crews are placed in Bumthang domestic airport, and six crews in Gelephu domestic airport. Presently fifty (49) fire personnel are working under Paro International Airport as of date.
There are two duty shifts (A & B).Each shift is staff with 22 fire personnel that report for duty on alternative days. Normally we staff only 2 CFTs during operational hours each CFT is manned by 8-9 personnel. Duty hours start from 6.00 AM to 5 PM in summer (Mar- Oct) and from 6 AM to 4 PM in winter (Nov-Feb). After day operational the station is manned by Night shift from 5 PM to 6 AM in summer and from 4 PM to 6 AM in winter. The airport fire station is operated 24 hours.
Basic Fire Training is normally being conducted in India. After basic training, some of fire personnel were sent to Singapore Aviation Academy (SAA) for officer, advanced courses, provided we had someone to sponsor the course or fund available from government. At present we still have about 25 fire crews who have not received any formal basic training. We recruit directly after a candidate normal schooling (Class XII) and than they are attached at the station for 3-4 years and then are sent for basic course base on availability of funds from government. We conduct scheduled station level training in order to keep the level of knowledge and skills adequate to the ICAO standards and recommended practices.