Each year Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport’s firefighters take part in intensive, hands-on aircraft rescue re-certification training at Toronto’s Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute. Throughout the re-certification training, the Fire Chief and all 18 members of the airport’s firefighting crew participate in simulated emergency scenarios customized to replicate the runway conditions, surrounding environment and aircraft commonly encountered at Billy Bishop Airport.
As part of the re-certification, a Fire Service Instructor coaches each participant prior to testing, providing instruction on the safe handling and approach of aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles, use of the wind for best advantage when establishing an evacuation route, as well as the pump-and-roll technique, wherein the vehicle continues to drive while the hose is engaged.
Billy Bishop Airport’s firefighters are the primary responders in an aircraft emergency. They operate out of the airport’s fully functioning, on-island fire hall and emergency response centre, which is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles which have been upgraded and expanded over the past few years, including new firefighting trucks, a mid-size pumper and a Fire Command vehicle. Each of the airport’s firetrucks weighs approximately 54,000 lbs, carrying a 1,500-gallon water tank, 210-gallon foam tank, and 225-lbs of dry chemical extinguishing agent.
In addition to annual aircraft rescue recertification training, the airport’s fire department completes regular internal and external emergency services training throughout the year, including a full-scale simulation every two years, with a full simulation table-top exercise in intervening years. Together, these exercises test the airport’s protocols, procedures, communications and planning for emergency and security-related incidents, and ensure that the airport is ready to respond to any situation. All of the airport’s emergency response partners, including Toronto Fire, Toronto Police Services and Toronto EMS, as well as staff and officials from the various security agencies and airlines that operate out of the airport, participate in the training to ensure a fully coordinated response to any situation.