Peter Moore – Chief Fire Officer, Christchurch International Airport
Dear Ian and Robyn,
It is 12 months now since we installed the BullEx Aircraft Trainer and I am pleased to advise that it has been a very successful acquisition. It has also completely changed the way we train our fire fighters (for the good!).
Obviously eliminating the use of wet hydrocarbon fuels is great for the environment with no voluminous clouds of black smoke in the atmosphere, no chance of fuel inadvertently entering the groundwater system and no need to use foam. The ongoing costs and time monitoring and maintaining the interceptor arrangement have also been removed. We sit over the aquifers that supply the city’s drinking water so this has always been a real issue for us.
An added bonus is that our fire fighters do not get as dirty during training and are no longer exposed to contact with the fuel. The protective clothing also does not get as dirty so it requires less cleaning and lasts longer.
As for the training, our scenarios are much more scenario based allowing the instructor to focus on the process rather than simply putting the fire out, regardless of whether the trainees were following correct procedures. Once the fire was lit you were committed to extinguishing it, as opposed to being able to stop the exercise and correct any faults there and then.
Being able to escalate, or scale back, each scenario has our firefighters thinking much more about their actions. For example, responding to a hot brakes incident (nothing showing) can escalate to smoke showing, fire showing, or fire increasing in intensity at the instructor’s desire, simply at the push of a button. He can also stop and restart the exercise at any time he should see fit e.g. due to equipment failure, procedural problem, or for a real emergency.