Hazard Crash site on and off aerodrome
Knowledge and understanding
|Crash site on and off aerodrome||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
The control measures for the hazard of transport incidents should be applied when attending incidents involving aircraft accident crash sites, whatever the size or complexity involved.
Aircraft accidents can vary greatly and result in fires, the need to perform rescues and considerations for scene safety.
Fire and rescue services will be called to aircraft accidents on, or adjacent to, aerodromes, due to the inherent hazards of aircraft taking off or landing. These incidents will have a rapid emergency response from Category 1 and 2 responders. The aerodrome rescue and firefighting service (RFFS) has clear protocols to deal with these types of incidents, therefore fire and rescue service intervention must be fully interoperable with these protocols.
In addition to aerodrome rescue and firefighting service responding to aircraft accidents on, or adjacent to, aerodromes, a number of aerodrome agencies will also attend, providing useful resources. Passenger evacuation management systems (PEMS) assist in evacuating passengers and crew away from the incident to an area of relative safety. These systems are normally deployed on aerodrome operations vehicles and erected in a safe location outside the inner cordon and within the outer cordon, upwind and uphill from the incident.
Passengers should be directed towards these vehicles. Passengers requiring medical treatment should be assisted or carried to this location for triage by the responding ambulance crews.
Rendezvous point (RVP) management will also be controlled at aircraft accidents on or adjacent to aerodromes. Refer to Hazard - Transport incidents, Control measure - Make a safe and controlled approach to the incident.
Aircraft accidents on or adjacent to aerodromes are likely to be more controlled in comparison with the challenges faced when dealing with an aircraft accident away from aerodromes, where the aerodrome rescue and firefighting service or Ministry of Defence are not in attendance.
It is usually low speed accidents that occur on or around, the aerodrome, as the aircraft is either taking off or landing. However, there will be occasions when the aircraft pilot will be forced to make an emergency landing away from a designated landing area.
In all air incidents, the hazards and subsequent risk will depend largely on the scale and nature of the accident. Accidents on, or adjacent to, the airport, will generally involve lower speeds and lower heights. As a result, aircraft are more likely to be recognisable, significantly intact and accessible for rescue, with survivability relatively high.
High speed accidents often result in complete destruction of the aircraft, with wreckage distributed over wide areas. Fire may occur in several areas, and survivability rates are expected to be low.
Air accidents off-aerodrome may present additional hazards and/or increase the risks to fire and rescue services when responding, including:
- Difficulty of access and egress at accident sites
- Hazardous or exposed ground conditions
- Difficult environments such as water, cliffs, hillside, forest, woodlands or fields
- Damaged utilities networks
- Lack of water supplies
- Wreckage trail
- Multiple casualties, passengers or animals
- Difficult access to aircraft and casualties
- Hazardous materials
- Cable entanglement
- Controlling environmental risk
- Preserving evidence
The materials used in aircraft construction are as diverse as the variety of aircraft in existence. These materials, which may be encountered when dealing with an aircraft accident, can produce harmful gases, vapour and particulates when subjected to the extreme effects of a crash.
Some material, such as polymer composites, may plume following a crash and be carried considerable distances downwind, or be contaminated with products of a post-crash incident, such as:
- Fuel and oils
- Products of combustion
Post-accident, fire and rescue service operations pose a significant hazard in relation to fuel spillages on or around the crash site.
Fire and rescue service personnel attending aircraft accidents may have limited experience as this type of incident does not occur frequently. This, and the moral or societal pressures on fire and rescue service personnel to save lives, regardless of resources, training and experience, must be considered.
The nature of aircraft accidents and the possibility of large numbers of casualties mean there is a risk of psychological trauma for responding fire and rescue service personnel, which may cause a stress reaction. See National Operational Guidance: Operations.
- Control measureEstablish whether vehicles are to be escorted airside
- Control measureSite-Specific Risk Information (SSRI): Transport