Newsgate360 – Riyadh: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) participated with the rest of the world in celebrating the International Firefighter’s Day, which falls on May 04 of each year. GACA’s participation comes out of its conviction of the importance of this global event and to participate with other countries of the world in celebrating this profession and introducing the role of the firefighters in preserving and protecting lives and properties.
On this occasion, GACA extended its thanks and appreciation to all employees of the airports fire and rescue services, praising their extremely important role and dedicated efforts in protecting lives and property. Highlighting their fire fighting role in maintaining the safety of travelers and airport workers alike.
Through this global celebration, GACA is keen on its belief of the importance of the Fire and Rescue Department and those who work in it and that it is the first line to face aviation accidents. It is also keen on providing these services in every airport in the Kingdom, and fortify them with equipments compatible with the latest international technological developments.
GACA has attracted the specialized cadres necessary to carry out the tasks of fire and rescue services at airports, and its commitment to training them until they have become highly skilled. The staff are enrolled in specialized training courses to keep pace with global developments in this field. This is done through the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation, which has a state of the art training center specializing in the field of fire and rescue services. It offers various programs that includes: High Diploma of Fire and Rescue (3 years), Alarm Operators Diploma (6 months), Airport Fire Fighting Diploma (6 months), Induction program for paramedic (3 months). The center also provides short development courses for various jobs in airport fire and rescue services, including (hazardous materials, operational and technical level, first and second level firefighters, command and operation, aircraft firefighting, first fire inspector, first fire trainer, and first fire officer.
The center relies on a set of tools including: technical training according to international standards, training in advanced analogous models, covering the needs of GACA qualified firefighters. Furthermore, it market training programs and various courses for those interested in this field. Furthermore, it ensures the quality of training programs through global partnerships.
The fire and rescue units at all of the Kingdom’s airports periodically conduct hypothetical experiences of emergency plans to determine the extent of preparations, readiness and speed to face accidents and fires. These exercises are conducted with the relevant authorities, to test the ability to use equipment and machinery as intended. This in addition to perform exercises that will train to anticipate accidents before they occur.
The fire and rescue services cover all emergency situations within the airport boundaries, and also respond to incidents that occur outside the airport within the framework of the agreement with the competent authorities in the region. It is worth noting, that the number of employees in the fire and rescue services in the Kingdom’s airports is about (1347) employees distributed to (28) fire and rescue units at the airports, while about 784 employees work at airports which was turned into companies. The Fire and Rescue Training Center at the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation, which falls under the umbrella of GACA has obtained the first domestic and international accreditation from the Department of Aviation Standards at the General Authority of Civil Aviation in 2018 and until this time, and achieved at the end of 2019 a new international achievement after its approval by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) as one of the accredited members in the field of training, during an international conference in Kentucky, USA.
During the year 2019, the number of students who graduated from the Academy’s fire and rescue training center with a diploma (15) alarm operators and 19 paramedics. Meanwhile, the Academy held (154) training courses in the field of fire and rescue, where (2596) staff members of the fire and rescue services have passed and are now working in The Kingdom’s various airports.
It is worth noting, that the celebration of the International Firefighters Day on May 4 of each calendar year, was established after an e-mail was sent all over the world on January 4, 1999 due to the death of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a forest fire in Lynton in Victoria, Australia. This day is a tribute to the firefighters for the services they provide to the most important societies and by sacrificing their lives to protect the lives and property of others.