St Mary's Airport RFFS is provided to CAP 168 Category 3 standards. The RFFS personnel service both scheduled and private flights. These include Islanders and Twin Otter aircraft, as well as military aircraft on search and rescue duties.
Like many other airport fire crews we are required to perform a variety of tasks as part of our daily routine. These include baggage handling, terminal maintanece, grass management, wildlife control, runway inspections, and handling of freight and mail.
As well as providing fire cover for the airport, our RFFS also provide the technical support to the retained local authority fire service and carry out servicing and repair to breathing aparatus sets, fire extinguishers, hoses, ladders, and rope rescue gear. We also provide extinguisher courses, and fire safety advice and visits to the islands.
All airports in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority, who set the levels of fire cover that airports require. On St. Mary's the manning level is a minimum of 4 certificated firefighters to be on duty at any time. To supply the media required for fire-fighting and to ensure business continuity, we have 2 foam tenders, both of which exceed the Category 3 requirements. Fire 1 was purpose built by Carmichael and is based on the Mercedes 1124 chassis. Fire 2 (an ex RAF fire tender) was also built by Carmichael and is a Mark 10 model. Both carry over 2000 litres of water and enough foam concentrate to produce the amounts of foam required by CAA legislation.
Initially all our fire crew are sent to The International Fire Training School at Teeside for, what is now a six week course. This gives them a certificate which is valid for four years, after which they have to return to the school for a one week revalidation course. All our fire fighters participate in the annual training programme at the airport to maintain competency by regular monitored training. The records of this training must be available for inspection during the annual CAA audit visit.