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Airport firefighting service nearly set to go

FIRED UP: Airservices Australia has opened a new aviation rescue fire-fighting service at Gladstone Airport, headed by senior fire commander Greg Hunt.
FIRED UP: Airservices Australia has opened a new aviation rescue fire-fighting service at Gladstone Airport, headed by senior fire commander Greg Hunt. Luka Kauzlaric

A CONSECUTIVE increase in travellers has led to the requirement of a $10-million fire-fighting service dedicated to the travelling public at Gladstone Airport.

With construction work complete and inspections and testing under way, the facility should be operational by the end of this month.

Australian legislation declares that airports with more than 350,000 passengers per annum for consecutive years, require their own fire-fighting services.

Senior fire commander Greg Hunt said the Gladstone facility was unique with its access to the airstrip on one side, and the entrance on Callemondah Dr.

"I have never seen such a good job done straight up on a facility like this," he said.

He said the government-owned Airservices Australia station and crew were paid for through landing charges.

"We're here for the travelling public ... but if our brothers-in-arms at the Queensland Fire Service need us for a job or if we need them, we're here," he said.

He said the crew predominantly trained for fuel fires with aircraft.

"But we still do structural training because of the airport terminal and administration buildings."

The station has three commanders and 15 firefighters, with one commander and four firefighters on shift at any one time.

"The crew has come in from all over Australia, some on temporary transfers to help set up, others for a two-year stint, before we look to recruit locally," he said.

Although there is a gym and a stand-down room for staff, Mr Hunt said the training and competencies required and vehicle maintenance would take up most of the crew's shift.

"We have to practice within 90 days, with a constant renewal of skills," he said.

The crew will be learning the topography of the land and how the terminal works.

Topics:  emergency, firefighting, gladstone airport




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