Hazard Dealing with incidents within aerodrome perimeters and infrastructure
Knowledge and understanding
|Dealing with incidents within aerodrome perimeters and infrastructure||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
The control measures for this hazard should be applied when attending incidents involving aerodrome infrastructure and within an aerodrome perimeter, whatever the size or complexity of the site.
This guidance has been written to assist fire and rescue service personnel in responding and dealing with incidents at aerodromes because of the wide variety of premises contained within their boundaries. Aerodromes form part of the UK's critical transport infrastructure and are controlled by rules and regulations that set strict controls as to what can, or cannot, happen within the curtilage of an aerodrome's boundaries. Access and egress are strictly controlled, so regular familiarisation and knowledge of local aerodrome plans is essential.
These areas are split into two defined areas, landside and airside:
Airside is the part of an aerodrome nearest the aircraft, which is controlled by security checks, customs, passport control and so on. Aerodromes will have a number of emergency access gates around the perimeter of the secure airside area. Fire and rescue service appliances and personnel will need clearance and supervision to enter into this restricted and controlled location, where an aerodrome is closed, or has limited security, further arrangements should be made to allow access.
Landside generally refers to all areas outside the controlled areas of the aerodrome, where members of the public have free movement without passing through a security gate. Some areas around the aerodrome will still have restrictions on access, such as cargo areas.
Types of buildings include:
- Terminal buildings, both high-rise or sub-surface
- Cargo buildings
- Fuel farms
- Maintenance hangers
- Air traffic control towers
- Sub stations
- Administration buildings
- Maintenance workshops
- Multi-storey car parks
The hazards from fighting fires in these buildings are covered in National Operational Guidance: Fires in the built environment. However, special attention should be given to identifying the common specific types of buildings within the aerodrome environment. These can include large aircraft hangars, which due to their size and nature will have their own complexities, or air traffic control towers, which may have sensitive equipment, hazardous radar equipment and may present difficulty in access/egress.
A wide range of risks are often found both landside and airside, so it is critical that attending services understand where to respond and the difference between landside and airside. Rendezvous points (RVPs) are located at all aerodromes and are where responding services should attend. Here they should be met by aerodrome staff that will marshal and escort them to the scene of operations when the incident is within the airside area.
However, it is important to note that buildings located landside will have security measures in place to protect from any hostile attack. This may include such things as automatic bollards for access control.
Although dealing with the types of buildings noted above is no different to attending large buildings or sites with specific risks such as fuel depots, this guidance aims to identify hazards involved in working at aerodromes.
Access and egress are strictly controlled, so regular familiarisation and knowledge of local aerodrome plans are essential to ensure crew safety and avoid unnecessary damage to aerodrome infrastructure which could result in business continuity issues and reputational damage to the fire and rescue service authority and the aerodrome operator.
Types of infrastructure include:
- Critical and sensitive areas
- Navigational aids
When responding fire and rescue service crews attend incidents at aerodromes, it is vital they understand that access may involve traversing runways, taxiways, aprons, critical areas and navigational aids, and at no time should this be done without an appropriate escort from the aerodrome authority. Local protocol should always be referred to along with the aerodrome's emergency plan for escort procedures.
Runways and taxiways could still be operating as fire and rescue services attend an incident at an aerodrome and incursions into a live runway or taxiway could have very serious consequences. It is essential that fire and rescue services are familiar with their local aerodromes.
There are sensitive areas on the aerodrome that contain instrument landing systems. These areas are critical to the operation of the aerodrome and for aircraft to land safely. Vehicles driving into a sensitive area can interfere with these systems and trip out the instrument landing systems as this is a failsafe mechanism to avoid sending a faulty signal to approaching aircraft. Therefore these areas should be avoided by responding crews, and they are the reason fire and rescue service vehicles should be escorted by a competent member of staff from the aerodrome authority but without unnecessary delay.
Fire and rescue services should have an awareness of the hazards present due to the wide variety of aircraft, specialist vehicles, baggage transfer systems and rail links at many international and regional aerodromes.
There are a number of unique facilities, systems and equipment around aerodromes that will need to be managed including:
- Aircraft movements
- Specialist vehicles
- Fuel tankers
- Airport fire vehicles
- Baggage trollies
- Catering vehicles
- Ground power units
- Water and toilet carts
- De-icing vehicles
- Snow clearing vehicles
- Baggage transfer systems
- Rail: Both above and under ground
- Transit systems
When responding crews attend incidents at aerodromes, they should be aware of the many specialist vehicles, equipment, rail links and aircraft that use that particular site. This will provide crews with background knowledge of the risks expected within the aerodrome.
Where incidents involve Rail and Road refer to the respective guidance