The fire fighter's profession is one of alertness, preparedness and courage. In the after math of the tragedy that hit the US lately, the whole world witnessed the courage and heroic efforts of hundreds of fire fighters to save the lives of others.
We all imagine a fire fighter in action and thankfully we rarely, if ever, see our colleagues in real action. So what is there behind a normal working day of the fire fighter ?
M.I.A. airport fire fighters form four crews and the first duty a crew carries out is giving a proper hand-over of all vehicles and equipment on each change of shift. Each fire fighter then checks his own protective clothing and the whole crew inspects the fire vehicles and each piece of equipment on them, to ensure that they are in full working conditions without any technical or mechanical fault.
After these checks the vehicle is given a production test, ensure that the vehicle is in perfect working order if the need arises. Any defects found in the vehicle or equipment is reported, and required action is immediately taken to rectify the fault or defect.
Each vehicle has a particular day when a full production test is carried out. During these tests every system including the foam making system of the vehicle is tested. A more stringent test is carried out to each vehicle once a month.
Once a week every Breathing Apparatus set, ladders, ropes, and other piece of ancillary equipment is tested and serviced. Another weekly task set for the fire fighters on duty is the fire prevention checks carried out on various installations on the airport such as the Bulk Fuel Installation, Fire Points on the airport parks, Hydrants and crash gates. First aid fire fighting equipment is also properly maintained and serviced.
The worthiness of vehicles and equipment is very important but equally important is the alertness and preparedness of the fire fighter. Regular training is a prerogative for our fire fighters. Training varies from actual simulation whereby fire fighters are called to combat a fire, driving and night operations, map reading and other forms of exercises. Regular lectures are also held and fire fighters also dedicate time to physical training in the state-of-the art gymnasium recently built within the section.
Malta International Airport plc has invested in new equipment, vehicles and equipment to upgrade the Airport fire service and with this investment, together with the professional attitude of the fire fighters have raised the airport's category to CAT 09 in ICAO standards. In all the airport fire services employs 75 fire fighters, comprising of Chief Fire Officer, four crews of 16 fire fighters, station officer and a crew commander each plus other complementary staff. The current fleet of fire fighting vehicles comprises of three Rosenbauer major foam vehicles, one Barribi Mercedes major foam, one Gloster Saro Meteor and two Iveco ambulances