Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coimbatore Airport is battle ready

At the Coimbatore Airport on Saturday, water leaps out of a state-of-the art fire fighting unit acquired from Austria and covers nearly 300 ft. The Austria-made crash fire tender (brand name Rosenbauer) demonstrates its prowess in fighting from a safe distance a blaze in aircraft. 

This was part of a drill to mark the Fire Services Day and the start of Fire Services Week observance.

Airport Director K. Peter Abraham; Central Industrial Security Force Deputy Commandant Pushkar Parashar; Airport Deputy General Manager Jeena George; Officer-in-Charge of Fire Sector B. Ganesh; and Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Krishnamurthy; were present..

The demonstration was to point out that with a 40-member fire fighting unit and the crash fire tenders, the airport was capable of tackling a major fire both in the terminal or in an aircraft, officials said. A smoke chamber, which would simulate a situation for training the airport's fire force personnel in swift evacuation, was inaugurated. Mr. Abraham has also allocated space near the residential quarters for stationing EMRI's 108 ambulance. This will shift passengers under medical emergencies to hospitals in the city.

The crash fire tender stole the show at the demonstration on Saturday. (The Coimbatore Airport has three of them, each costing Rs.3.5 crore). Each can hold 10,500 litres of water and 1,300 litres of aqua film forming foam. The foam is handy in putting out an oil fire. 

Officials explained that in case of an oil fire, water would not help in putting out the blaze quickly. The density of oil is less than that of water. Because of this, oil remains on top and sustains the blaze. The foam forms a film over the oil and kills the blaze by cutting oxygen to it. In fire services parlance, this is called blanketing the fire. This is very useful because any typical incident on an aircraft is mostly oil fire.

The chasis of the fire tender has defence nozzles that spray water to put out grass fire on the route to the main blaze area. This prevented the fire fighting unit from catching fire. This was also demonstrated during the drill on Saturday. 

From turning the ignition on, the crash fire tenders can reach a speed of 80 km in 20 seconds.

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