Manchester Airport, UK • Maintaining the Highest Safety Standards
Manchester Airport is one of four airports within the Manchester Airport group (MAG)
The airport is located at the hub of the new Northern Powerhouse, ideally located for national road and rail networks. It is a category 10 airport serving over 23 million passengers who can travel to and from many global destinations.
The airport is served by two strategically located fire stations covering its two runways, three terminals and many different risks. The Rescue and Firefighting Service provides 24/7 emergency cover for aircraft and airfield incidents, domestic and special service calls and more recently medical calls including co-responding in partnership with North West Ambulance Service.
Staffing of the Rescue and Firefighting Service comprises of 88 personnel providing a minimum staffing of 16 on duty across a 4 watch system. These personnel provide the response model for the largest category of aircraft that uses that airport (CAT10)
In 2014, Manchester Airport carried out a comprehensive review of its Rescue and Firefighting Operating model and Task and Resource Analysis. The outcome of the work resulted in a decision to modernise its entire fleet of vehicles, provide the highest standard of personal protective equipment for the staff and introduce firefighting media that would perform to the highest standard and protect the environment. This modernisation outcome resulted in the airport providing the highest standard of protection with the most up to date technology for the travelling community, employees and visitors to the airport.
To ensure that best value for money is achieved, a formal tendering process has been developed for all goods and service expenditure. The tendering process has been led by the Manchester Airport Group Procurement and Contracts department.
Heather Bradley, Group Procurement and Contracts Buyer, is responsible for facilitating the tender processes and the contract management for all of the Professional and Outsourced Services with a key focus on the Group Fire Fighting Services.
The purpose for managing the formal tender programme is to achieve best value for money in a visible way. It ensured that all of the information required from each prospective supplier was presented within a clear, concise and complete framework, and that all tenders are returned in a consistent manner to ensure that all respondents have equal opportunity.
As a department, the personnel work with Suppliers, both pre and post tender, to build relationships, manage expectations and explore the market place to establish which solution is achieved within best value principals.
The vision of the team continues to be recognised as the premier aviation procurement and contracts service provider. All 3rd party purchases of goods, works and services are procured or governed by the procurement team who manage a spend of £300m per annum working with around 1,500 suppliers.
One of the objectives within the department is to embed a Procurement Business Partner Model and produce a Stakeholder Engagement Plan for the individual airports and key business functions. Through a category management approach it allows the department to focus on key areas and functions.
Working with the Rescue and Firefighting Service managers at within MAG we have completed successful tenders for PPE with Bristol Uniforms Ltd, Helmets with MSA Safety and Environmentally friendly Fire Fighting Foams through Terberg DTS (UK) Ltd and Angloco Ltd.
Manchester Airport went through a robust process that looked at many Fire Vehicle manufacturers and eventually chose to order six new top of the range fire engines from the American company Oshkosh. Six of the most up to date Global Striker Vehicles were unveiled in 2014 as the initial part of a £4.8m total investment in the airport fire and rescue operations.
The vehicles are equipped with the latest technology, including high reach extending turrets (HRET) – known as snozzles – with piercing tips for quick and effective access into aircraft internal compartments and forward looking infra-red (FLIR) and colour cameras.
The Advantages of the HRET technology are:
Cab operation of HRET and primary turret, removes fire fighters from the risk area, therefore promoting safer working practices of responding crews.
In low attack mode, the HRET can extinguish a ground level pool fire 53% faster than a conventional roof mounted turret. This is scientifically proven in FAA and military tests (FAA Advisory circular 150/5210-23). The precision based application reduces the amount of medias used and allows fire fighters to get to work faster and reach further when deploying media, therefore reducing response and action times. Vehicles can be positioned away from escape chutes and can extend over obstacles for rapid knockdown. The 30 degree left and right rotation of the HRET boom allows either side of the aircraft to be reached by one vehicle, without re-positioning.
The HRET can be used on undercarriage fires in dual attack mode (Foam/water and dry Powder), utilising the FLIR camera to monitor temperatures. This removes the need for fire fighters in the risk area. The hydrochem nozzle can project Monnex dry powder in excess of 80 metres at 8kg/sec, rapidly extinguishing ground level fuel fires involving large aircraft.
The extendable reach of the HRET has the ability to boom above most aircraft and attack high engine fires and APU fires and is capable of entering open aircraft doors at all levels. The HRET head can then articulate 90 degrees and with use of the FLIR can provide a cooling spray/mist to cool the internal temperatures and produce a survivable atmosphere. The piercing tip can penetrate the fuselage and introduce a water spray into the passenger cabin, the effects of which can be monitored on the FLIR. This again, reduces cabin temperature for any casualties or BA fire fighting teams, it can also be utilised to push in aircraft windows, which aids smoke/heat ventilation of the aircraft.
Other uses of the HRET are as a hydraulic lifting device, enabling fire crews to lift heavy equipment at an incident – up to 227kg. The boom can be extended to a high level, to produce a ‘bird’s eye’ view of the incident which can be viewed with the FLIR or colour camera. Images are also recorded and can be used for evidence purposes.
The Striker 6 x 6 axle configuration, with Oshkosh TAK-4® all wheel and fully independent suspension, offers a smooth ride and exceptional off-road capabilities. The on board firefighting system includes a 12,000 litre water tank, a 1680 litre foam tank and a 250kg dry chemical system for multiple agent fire suppression capabilities. The 12m vehicles can reach speeds in excess of 70mph.
The introduction of these vehicles and the technology has presented the airport with the opportunity to introduce a new operating model incorporating a completely fresh approach, adopting revised tactics and techniques to enable us to create a safer environment for our passengers, airline crews and firefighters.
On delivery of the fleet of vehicles, a decision was made to replace the ageing foam stocks with new eco friendly fluorine free foam. After a tendering process the choice was made to purchase Ecopol from the French company Bio-Ex. Nearly 20,000 litres of foam was purchased to completely fill the 6 crash vehicles and provide additional foam for familiarisation training and calibration of the vehicles. The use of the new vehicles and foam has changed the way our crews operate and extinguish fires, the vehicle positioning and rate of attack has been modified to take account of the vastly improved performance of both the vehicles and the performance of the media.
Aside from the 6 Strikers, there will be a new Command Vehicle and a domestic fire appliance added to the fleet in the first quarter of 2016, The domestic firefighting vehicle, based on a MAN 6 cab chassis is currently being built in Germany and will have a bespoke rear equipment area built and fitted by Szczesniak Specialist Vehicles in Poland. This vehicle will compliment the response to aircraft incidents and provide an up to date custom equipped vehicle to allow initial response to the many risks that surround the airport. The vehicle will be kitted out with new rescue and extrication equipment and on board mobile date and risk information to support the response to the ever developing airport infrastructure.
Bristol Uniforms have supplied Manchester Airport with Firefighting PPE for over 10 years. We started with the Jaguar Fire Kit, progressing to the Ergotech PPE in 2009. We have a very good working relationship with Bristol Uniforms with an excellent service and after sales record.
When the time came to renew the PPE we looked at the options available to the industry. Bristol Uniforms have developed their latest XFlex PPE, ergonomically designed to provide the ultimate in fit and comfort as well as providing the protection for the various hazardous roles associated with the aviation industry. There is a choice of fabric of Hainsworth Titan 1220 or a Hainsworth Titan 1260.
After trialling several options, the XFlex with its distinctive styling and protection was the preferred choice. Eighty six sets of the XFlex Titan 1260 were ordered in March 2015 and were delivered within 12 weeks.
We were also in the market for 86 new helmets. We have been using the Gallet F1SF for a number of years, but started to develop a few issues, which led us to try some of the other competitors. However, we couldn’t find a suitable helmet that ticked all the boxes from design, protection, fit and aesthetic appearance.
By chance we were visited by Kevin Tomkins, from MSA, with a newly developed helmet. I told Kevin my concerns, and after listening to the concerns of other users, Gallet have developed the Gallet F1XF helmet.
The design of the helmet is fantastic. Firstly, the comfort and fit of the helmet is superb, both with and without Breathing Apparatus. Replacement parts, like the visors and eye goggles are easy to replace. The inbuilt lighting unit provides an excellent aid to safe navigation in the dark. A brilliant design is the adjustable ocular visor, to allow for spectacles to be worn comfortably.
In 2014, Manchester Airport also made a decision to replace the current Breathing Apparatus equipment following the announcement Drager would no longer be supporting our current BA set.
Four manufacturers, Drager, MSA, Scott and Interspiro were invited to provide us with sets for a period of 3 month evaluation during which time all 4 watches had the opportunity to test the sets and complete a standard evaluation form.
- Drager provided 2 sets – PSS 5000 and 7000
- MSA provided 2 sets which had minor differences.
- Scott provided 2 different sets – Contour and Pro Pak
- Interspiro provided 3 different sets – Spiroguide II, QS II and ESA Fitting Mask.
The results of the evaluations provided an overall score from which the Interspiro Spiroguide II proved to be the preferred option, with Interspiro also providing the most competitive package.
Following delivery of 40+ BA Sets, a period of training commenced for all watches prior to the sets being introduced operationally. The equipment has been operational for 18 months and the servicing and aftercare has been exceptional, fully justifying the purchase.
Manchester Airport has been working closely with Interspiro to develop new modifications and improvements to the sets and a partnership has been forged that will see the airport trialling their new telemetry system, head up displays and communications equipment.
Manchester Airport Rescue and Firefighting Service is in a great position to support the growth and development of the business in line with the investment being made in Airport City and the Manchester Transformation Project.
The increase in passenger numbers and design of modern aircraft will bring new challenges that the airport are prepared and future proofed for with the equipment, kit and training that is already in place.
For more information, go to www.manairport.co.uk