The airport fire brigade at Linz Airport

Following the principle of "Rescue, Extinguish, Recover, Protect", the safety and protection of passengers, staff and infrastructure is a matter of great concern to the firefighters at Linz Airport.

Aircraft fire protection, building fire protection, technical assistance and fire safety checks are all among the tasks of the professional fire brigade team, headed by the fire brigade commander. The team consists of 4 fire officers, 4 fire officer deputies and about 35 men of the ground handling and workshop teams. During airport operating hours, a fire officer is always present to be ready for coordination in case of any emergency.

Areas of responsibility

The scope of action of the airport fire brigade is precisely defined by national and international guidelines.

In Austria, the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) deals with aviation matters as the Supreme Civil Aviation Authority (OZB). At European level, the EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) is responsible for ensuring safety and environmental protection in aviation.

Its remit is precisely defined by international and national directives. These include the regulations of ICAO (Annex 14), EASA as well as the ZNV (Civil Aviation Incident and Emergency Measures Regulation) and define the relevant standards, guidelines and recommendations as well as the minimum requirements at the respective airport.

The equipment of the fire-fighting and technical rescue service team depends on the largest aircraft landing at the airport. At the moment Linz Airport provides EASA-fire protection category 7. If required, within notice of two hours in advance, Linz Airport can upgrade to category 9.

In order to meet the requirements of the ICAO regulations, the fire brigade of Linz Airport is supported by military forces of the Aircraft Rescue and CBRN Defence Platoon at Vogler Air Base.

In summary: Without an operational airport fire brigade, there would be no flight operations.

Recovery of crashed aircraft

If an aircraft is damaged on the runway or taxiways, rapid action is paramount. In addition to rescuing people and, if necessary, fighting fires, one of the tasks of the airport fire brigade is to recover the aircraft. For this purpose, the fire brigade team has special equipment at its disposal for lifting and transporting the aircraft. If necessary, the Linz Airport fire brigade can also call on the support of their colleagues at Vienna Airport.

Emergencies in air traffic

For emergencies in air traffic, a special "Air Accident" alarm plan has been drawn up. Depending on the scope of the emergency, up to 17 fire brigades are alerted via the national warning centre. The alarm is usually triggered by the staff in the tower. They are in direct radio contact with the pilots and transmit important information to the emergency services. Of course, ambulances, the police and other authorities are also notified via a predefined alarm chain. Bigger quantities of medical supplies are kept at the airport in case of a larger number of injured persons.

In the event of an aircraft emergency at the airport, the airport fire brigade must arrive at the scene of the accident within 3 minutes of being alerted and begin extinguishing the fire.

In order to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, comprehensive emergency drills are held regularly, in which external forces also participate.

The Linz-Land district administration acts as the official incident command at Linz Airport and is involved in emergency planning and exercises.

Fire brigade members at Austrian commercial airports are subject to the training guideline B15 of the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association. It regulates both basic training and ongoing training and further training measures. The training of smoke divers is an essential part of this (Hot Fire Drill). This training takes place centrally at the training grounds of the fire brigade at Vienna Airport. Every year, about 15 employees take part in a two-day smoke diver course there. In addition, there are a number of internal and external training events that the fire brigade members of Linz Airport attend, e. g. at the training grounds for aircraft fire fighting in Teeside (England).

Vehicle fleet

The Linz Airport fire brigade has the following fleet of vehicles at its disposal for rapid and effective deployment in emergencies:

  • 2 Rosenbauer airport fire engines ("Panther"), each with a capacity of 12,500 litres of water, 1,500 litres of foam, 500 kilograms of extinguishing powder and 120 kilograms of CO2.
    • Technical data: 700 hp, 115 km/h top speed, 36 t weight
    • Output – roof-mounted thrower: 6,000 l/min
    • Output – front thrower: 1,500 l/min
    • Max. pump pressure: approx. 15 bar
  • 1 water tender with 7,000 litres of water and 1,000 litres of foam
  • 1 rescue fire-fighting vehicle with 4,000 litres of water and 200 litres of foam
  • 2 command vehicles, 1 swap body vehicle with crane, 1 trailer for oil operations and 1 trailer with equipment for aircraft recovery.

In total, the following extinguishing agents are available:

  • 36,000 l water
  • 1,000 kg extinguishing powder
  • 4,200 l foam
  • 240 kg CO2