Bill tabled addressing airport’s fire service cover
Bermuda’s fire protection codes will be switched with British regulations when it comes to airport operations under legislation to be tabled in the House of Assembly today.
Michael Weeks, the national security minister, said the Bill would address the minimum duty strength required at the airport.
Questioned on the legislation by the One Bermuda Alliance, Mr Weeks said the change would not affect the size of aircraft landing on the island.
He also said it would not lead to any conflict between UK regulations and the US Federal Aviation Administration.
The changes came after extra firefighters had to be brought to the island from Canada last summer to keep numbers up to requirements.
Some of the 19 overseas firefighters hired to supplement the airport fire service will remain after March 31 – but Mr Weeks said the Government was advertising to fill more posts in Bermuda’s fire service.
Eleven new local firefighters have been taken on, ten of whom are in the UK for training at present.
Airport firefighters are “an essential service to enable the airport to serve commercial flights”, said the minister.
He added: “Not all jurisdictions hire raw recruits and train them for the fire service. Some will only hire trained and qualified firefighters. Bermuda, however, hires raw recruits and trains them to be firefighters.
“It typically takes 24 weeks for the foundation training and then there is further specialist training. With this cohort, the intent is to have them certified aircraft rescue firefighters.”
Under the new legislation, Bermuda’s National Fire Protection Agency Codes currently in force at the airport will be replaced with the UK Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Orders along with Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements.
The service’s staffing requirements and recruitment process has been under review since November.
Until last year, the accepted minimum duty strength at LF Wade International Airport required three crews of five firefighters, enabling it to provide a response category rating of 9.
But an audit last February increased the minimum required duty strength from five firefighters per crew to 14 to maintain that category.
• To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.
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