Tokua Airport in East New Britain now has an additional six young fire fighters to boost the function of its Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Division.
These officers, two females and four males, recently graduated as fully- fledged Airport Rescue Fire Fighters after completing 12 months of intensive training in all aspects of Airport Rescue and Firefighting, including ratings in Topography, Aircraft Familiarization and Fire Control Centre.
“This is an important achievement for NAC in terms of complying with aviation safety standards and requirements at our airports.
“It is good that we do not experience fire and emergencies regularly at our airports, however in the event that we experience one, it is crucial that we have young and energetic Fire Fighters who are physically fit, know what to do and are able to respond in a timely manner to save lives,” explained Russell Paliai, Tokua Airport Operations Manager.
Mr Paliai added that that the additional six officers will boost Tokua Airport’s current ARFF strength of 3 long standing firefighters who are nearing retirement.
Ruth Tenanga, a graduate ARFF said; “I’m privileged to train with skilled and experienced long serving NAC Airport Rescue Fire Fighters, their experiences and shared learnings, are valuable and have motivated me to keep going. Also, not many women are employed in this area, so I hope our stories will encourage more women to pursue Airport Rescue Fire Fighting as a career.”
The National Airports Cooperation, who operates PNG’s national airports, currently has ARFF stations at 6 of its 22 airports and a total of 108 ARFF Officers.
Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting is a critical function of airport operations. NAC’s goal is to meet the Safety and Regulatory Compliance Part 139.65 of CASA PNG and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations and ensure that ARFF personnel across its airports, are adequately trained and equipped with proper equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are medically and physically fit for duty.
NAC strives to be an employer of choice, giving equal opportunities to females to participate in male dominated areas in aviation including Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) and Technical Services. In 2019, NAC recruited eight female trainee fire fighter, six at Port Moresby International Airport and two at Tokua Airport.