RFFS Latest Topics & News

Air Ops Risk Review for 2020

The aviation sector was massively disrupted in 2020, leading to a new safety landscape. EASA has produced its preliminary safety review for Air Ops in 2020.


Air Ops Risk Review 2020 Document>


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Firefighters’ cancer risk to be identified through new national database


Fire fighters enter a burning building as part of their training

First UK registry will quantify the health risks that firefighters face

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have created a new nationwide database to assess the potential link between exposure to fire toxicants and the increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases among firefighters.

Known as the UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry (FCDR), the database will collect information on firefighters’ work routines, exposure to fire effluents, lifestyle and health. This will enable scientists to identify and recognise most common cancers and diseases related to firefighters’ work, and, in the future, offer preventative health screening, education and support that is specifically designed to protect firefighter’s health.

The project, initiated and co-sponsored by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and clinicians working at the Royal Preston Hospital, will allow UCLan researchers to analyse data on a long-term basis. As part of this, they will track the number of cancer cases amongst firefighters over time, investigate possible causes of cancer and other diseases – such as exposure to fire toxicants – and evaluate the risk of different cancers among firefighters compared with the rest of the population.

This research will allow scientists to fully understand the link between the exposure to fire effluents that firefighters face at work and the prevalence of cancers or other diseases. All firefighters, both serving and retired, as well as those that have or have not been previously diagnosed with an illness, will be invited to register.

Filling in this registry will help us to track the rates of cancer and disease case over time, as well as helping us to recognise most common diseases and cancers related to firefighters’ work and exposure to fire toxins

— UCLan’s Anna Stec, Professor in Fire Chemistry and Toxicity

This research, commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), follows an independent UCLan Report> that provides guidance for fire brigades on how to minimise exposure to fire effluents, as well as highlighting the high levels of carcinogens present in the working environment of firefighters.

UCLan’s Anna Stec, Professor in Fire Chemistry and Toxicity, said: “The UK’s National Cancer Registry and Analysis Service is currently not able to provide any reliable data on cancer incidence or mortality amongst firefighters. Setting up the UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry will enable us to identify and keep track of all firefighters who have been diagnosed with the diseases and cancers, as well as identify any association between firefighter’s occupation and exposure to fire carcinogens.

“We are calling on all firefighters, including those new to the career and those that have moved on, to register with the UK FCDR. Filling in this registry will help us to track the rates of cancer and disease case over time, as well as helping us to recognise most common diseases and cancers related to firefighters’ work and exposure to fire toxins.”

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, added: “Firefighters take on huge risks when tackling an emergency, but the hazard to their health does not stop when a fire is extinguished. Every current and former firefighter who has suffered a serious or chronic illness needs to add their name to this register so we can further expose the shocking numbers of firefighters suffering from cancer and other diseases.

“In Canada and parts of the US, the link between firefighting and deadly diseases has been recognised in legislation, allowing firefighters and their families to receive compensation where health has been affected or where firefighters have died as a result. We need to be doing far more to avoid contamination in the first place but also, as the body of evidence continues to grow here, politicians in the UK must be willing to step up and protect their own firefighters.”

The UK Firefighters Cancer and Disease Registry can be accessed here on the

UCLan website>

All data is stored securely and anonymously, and firefighters can request that their data is withdrawn at any time.


Sign up to the UK FCDR>

Paul’s Hair and Beauty World Fatal Fire, July 13 2013

Following the now completed lengthy coronial process, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service [GMFRS] have produced the Oldham Street: Training & Learning Video, which provides an account of the fire where Firefighter Stephen Hunt tragically lost his life.

Following the incident, GMFRS at the time produced a Fatal Accident Report. The video is an extension of the report and brings together all the findings into a single training and learning resource, by re-creating the incident in a visual way, aimed at supporting the future training and development of Firefighters and Officers.

The video [approx. 45 min duration] has proved to be a valuable internal resource and as such, GMFRS wanted to take the opportunity to share it more widely and make it available to all within the sector.

Whilst the incident was a number of years ago, the learning outcomes remain relevant today.

Fatal Accident Investigation Report Oldham Street July 2013>


GMFRS Pauls Hair World 13.07.13 Training & Learning Video>

Government bans old coach, bus and lorry tyres from roads in new measures to improve road safety.

Tyres aged 10 years and older will be banned.

As of 1st February 2021, tyres aged 10 years or over cannot be fitted to the front of any HGV vehicle or coach or to any axle on a minibus. There is no exception currently in place for Fire Service Vehicles on or off Airfields. If it is road registered, then it is applicable.

  • tyres aged 10 years and older to be banned to help improve road safety

  • clearly visible date of manufacture mandatory on each tyre, ensuring older tyres are easy to spot
  • latest action follows years of work by the government and determined efforts of campaigners

Old Tyres Evidence Final Report>

Impact Assessment>

Source Terberg DTS



Following the significant resurgence of COVID19 the CAA has readdressed the matter of RFFS easements

During the unprecedented and extremely challenging times we are facing the UK Civil Aviation Authority have been asked a number of questions regarding the provision of Rescue and Firefighting Services (RFFS) at Licensed or Certificated Aerodromes.

RFFS FAQ and Easement v1.4

Please feel free to comment on the forum Legislation/Compliance.




Rescue and firefighting services at aerodromes

The objective of this Decision is to maintain a high level of safety for aerodrome operations. In particular, it aims to enhance the effectiveness of rescue and firefighting personnel when responding to aviation emergencies at an aerodrome, by allowing the aerodrome operators to train rescue and firefighting personnel on pressure-fed fuel fires more frequently at facilities that utilise fuel other than jet fuel (e.g. gas). The substitution of the jet fuel with other types of fuels provides an alternative way to the training, which is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Furthermore, the Decision provides guidance material to support aerodrome operators to verify the medical and physical fitness condition of the rescue and firefighting personnel. The guidance material is based on current medical practices for rescue and firefighting personnel and on ICAO Doc 9137 Part 1 ‘Rescue and firefighting services’

EASA SIB 2020 07 R1

Explanatory Note To ED Decision 2020-009-R

EASA RFFS AMC and GM following ED 2020-009-R






EASA Document Library>


Liveryman Simon Petts, CFO London Gatwick Airport outlines the major impact COVID-19 has had on the airport.

In the early days and weeks of what we now know as the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact upon the Fire & Rescue Service here at London Gatwick was limited to daily meetings with our Stable Operations Team, Public Health England, South East Coast Ambulance Service and others. Primarily, this meeting’s agenda focused on how we would manage the possibility of COVID-19 cases arriving into the UK. For my part, I had a particular interest in the alerting process for such cases and potential controls required to be developed for our responding crews should there be a need for medical intervention. (The Fire Service crews respond to around 800 medical calls a year).

Having been at Gatwick for a significant period of time (I can barely believe the figure myself), I, along with a number of my colleagues, have been through a number of events that have generated periods of disruption and anxieties for the world of commercial aviation; SARs, 9/11, Avian Influenza, Swine Flu, Ebola, 7/7, Terrorism…….and a few others. I think it’s fair to say that none of those came anywhere near the effects being experienced as a result of COVID-19.

As the days and weeks moved on it became evident that the aviation world was about to hit a number of significant challenges. We began to see suspected cases entering the UK and before too much longer COVID-19 had firmly established itself within our borders. Fast forward to today’s picture, prior to COVID-19 Gatwick was operating at or around 47 million passengers per annum from the busiest single runway in the world. To watch this operation in full swing on a busy day is quite something. The toughest game of Tetris you will ever witness, and our normal role is to incident manage in amongst it all.

To give you some perspective of the impact, yesterday’s passenger figures (in the last week of May) were 35 in total!

Gatwick Fire & Rescue Service has had to rapidly revise its operating model. The Licence to operate the airport is partly dependent upon the adequate provision of the Rescue & Firefighting Services; if our trained staff were to fall below certain levels this might be a considerable risk to Gatwick’s ability to open its runway. Initial fears were that we would see our numbers greatly affected by the loss of staff due to self-isolation or infection. This factor alone drove an early lockdown of our teams, access to them being restricted long before the direction from central government. We developed several initiatives around social distancing while attempting to maintain our critical functions.

Gatwick set in motion a number of workstreams to develop an operating model with greatly reducing passenger numbers and increasing flight restrictions. It began a phased scaling down of its terminal buildings with chunks of infrastructure being removed from service on a daily basis. As those of us who work within the Fire Sector understand, this doesn’t simply remove the risk; often it can just defer, or shift it elsewhere; Part of my role during those early weeks was to give advice on risk profiles and mitigation steps, using the rapidly changing information to establish a suitable fire service provision.

Gatwick FRS works extremely closely with our supporting local Authority FRS’s, West Sussex & Surrey. The relationship has once again proved invaluable, as the two operations began to be challenged in different ways the personal communications and updates have allowed us all to remain completely clear on how each is resourced and coping under these unpresented challenges.

Our service uses Operational Guidance Notices (OGN), to give direction on certain elements of our work, at the outset of the pandemic a specific COVID-19 OGN was developed in an attempt to describe how we would deliver our operation in an extremely challenging period of time. We are currently on our fifth version! With a few appendices thrown in for good measure.

Currently the skies remain very quiet, along with the airports. That said, we are beginning to get a feel of what a route back to normality might look like. I’m hoping the ‘new normal’ as it’s widely being referred to, is more of a temporary normal. PPE solutions, along with advances in medical science and infrastructure engineered solutions are paving a way to a slow, phased, safe return to commercial air travel. Rest assured we are working hard to develop these solutions and keeping everything crossed while we do it.

Salamander July 2020>


The UK Civil Aviation Authority understands that the spread of Coronavirus is concerning for the industry.

How the UK Civil Aviation Authority is preparing

As part of its regulatory duties, the UK Civil Aviation Authority consistently monitors and prepares for a variety of scenarios. The UK Civil Aviation Authority are closely monitoring the evolution of the coronavirus situation and considering any required precautions to take.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority have robust contingency measures in place to ensure continuity of our safety-critical regulatory business in the event of the spread of COVID-19.

During the unprecedented and extremely challenging times we are facing the UK Civil Aviation Authority have been asked a number of questions regarding the provision of Rescue and Firefighting Services (RFFS) at Licensed or Certificated Aerodromes.

RFFS Easement Doc v1.2

Please feel free to comment on the forum Legislation/Compliance.




SRG2011 Form>

FAA Proposes $1.29 Million Civil Penalty Against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1,291,621 civil penalty against the City of Chicago Department of Aviation for allegedly violating aircraft rescue and firefighting regulations.

Read more>

Horrifying new footage shows jet skidding along Moscow runway engulfed in 100ft flames before passengers flee inferno that killed 41 as Russian pilot is formally charged with negligence after lightning strike

Denis Evdokimov, 42, was charged with negligence today over the crash landing after lightning strike in May 2019

  • The Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed onto the Sheremetyevo runway and was engulfed in 100ft flames
  • Thirty-seven people survived the horror crash of the Murmansk-bound domestic flight, with ten injured
  • New footage and pictures from The Russian Investigative Committee show the horrific scenes unfold


Read More>

Investigation reveals cause of 2016 Emirates plane crash in Dubai

General Civil Aviation Authority’s final report recommends enhanced training for pilots and air traffic controllers

Investigation reveals cause of 2016 Emirates plane crash in Dubai

The report said that without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 was doomed to crash on August 3, 2016.

Emirates has been urged to enhance pilot training following an investigation into Flight EK521 which crashed at Dubai International Airport and caught fire in 2016.

A final report by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the pilots failed to realise the engines of their Boeing 777 remained idle as they tried to take off from a failed landing attempt.

“The flight crew reliance on automation and lack of training in flying go-arounds from close to the runway surface significantly affected the flight crew performance in a critical flight situation which was different to that experienced by them during their simulated training flights,” the report said.

It added that air traffic controllers also failed to warn the pilots that two other flights had previously failed to land due to windshear.

The report also recommended that the details of the crash and the lessons learned into air traffic controller training.

Among a list of recommendations to Emirates, the report said it should “enhance the normal go-around and missed approach training standards”.

The report said that without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 was doomed to crash on August 3, 2016.

Emirates said in a statement on Thursday that it has “proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures” based on its own internal investigation.

While the 300 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777-300 escaped with their lives, a subsequent explosion that engulfed the aircraft killed a firefighter on the ground, the report added.

It noted that during the attempted go-around, except for the last three seconds prior to impact, “both engine thrust levers, and therefore engine thrust, remained at idle. Consequently, the aircraft’s energy state was insufficient to sustain flight.”

The GCAA report said the flight crew “did not effectively scan  and monitor the primary flight instrumentation parameters during the landing and the attempted go-around” and “did not take corrective action to increase engine thrust”.

Also contributing to the cause of the crash, the report said air traffic control did not pass “essential information about windshear reported by a preceding landing flight crew”.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said: “Emirates welcomes the publication of the Final Report, and we would like to thank the UAE AAIS, and all parties who have contributed to the investigation for their work.

“We would like to once again express our sorrow and convey our condolences to the family of the firefighter who lost his life while responding to the accident. We would also like to recognise our teams on the aircraft and on the ground that day, who responded to the emergency in an exemplary fashion and ensured the safe evacuation of everyone on board EK521.

“The aim of aviation safety investigations is to understand all contributing factors and ensure appropriate measures are taken by the relevant parties and agencies to prevent a reoccurrence. Emirates acknowledges the conclusions and recommendations drawn by the AAIS.

“Since the accident, our priorities have been to support the passengers and crew of EK521, to conduct a thorough review of our internal processes, and to support the work of the investigators.

“In addition to actions identified in the Final Report, Emirates has also proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures based on our own internal investigation, as well as on a thorough review of the Preliminary Report and Interim Report. These actions were taken in conjunction with our regulator, the UAE GCAA. It is a positive validation of our robust internal process that the majority of our own findings and recommendations are included in the final report.

“Maintaining safe operations is a top priority at Emirates, and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations.”

Published Final Report UAE521 on 6-Feb-2020>

GCAA website>

Latest Monnex Test Results Confirm Manufacturers Claims

“Is Considered to be Accurate”

For more than 35 years Monnex has retained a 50% reduction in volume of use over other dry powders such as ABC and standard BC. Monnex dry powder was originally manufactured by ICI in Warrington before being purchased by Croda plc and the manufacturing transferred to the Croda operation at Kirkby, Merseyside in the early 1990’s. The current manufacturers of Monnex (Kerr Fire) maintain the following claim:- ‘When Monnex is tested in an EN3 rated extinguisher body, it is possible to extinguish a 144B pan fire (4.54m2) with just 1.5kg of powder’.

The request from MAG Airports is for LEIA to undertake an independent fire performance test to determine if the manufacturer’s claims are still relevant in 2019.

Conclusion: –

Given the limited number of tests undertaken and the protocol chosen for the fire performance tests of Monnex and ABC40 dry powder, the claim made by the manufacturer of Monnex as detailed in this reports ‘Background Note’ is considered to be accurate. The Monnex dry powder fire performance was significantly better than ABC dry powder with the use of 651gms /m2 for ABC powder versus 330gms/m2 for Monnex which represents a 50% reduction required weight for weight to achieve extinction on the fire tests undertaken by LEIA.

Gary McDowall

LEIA Laboratories.




Monnex Dry Powder Performance Test July 2019

Following the announcement from the CAA that UK Alt Moc 4 ADR.OPS.B.010 (a) (2) will be withdrawn commencing 1st January 2020. The Aviation Rescue & Firefighting industry raised questions and sought to seek answers.

AOA provided the forum for discussion with the CAA present, before AFOA (working with Angus) pushed to provide the evidence needed to demonstrate the performance of a ‘High performing’ powder against a standard ABC powder.

Following on from the Dry powder testing that took place in July 2019 at Angus, Bentham, where a performance test between a standard ABC (off the shelf) powder and Monnex Dry powder.  A report has now been complied and published for industry circulation by Neil Gyllenship GIFireE. Senior Airport Fire Officer, Manchester Airport Fire Service.

It is recognised that test conditions were a rough guide and the extinguishers used (although both 9Kg) did differ slightly, i.e.; Monnex 9Kg powder CO2 Gas cartridge, with the standard ABC 9Kg powder being stored pressure. The result of the test was pretty conclusive with Monnex far out performing the standard ABC powder.

The next stage of this evaluation would be to peruse factual evidence under laboratory conditions. Manchester Airport will be commissioning an independent company to carry out the testing and then sharing the results with industry.

This is necessary to provide closure and conclusive evidence to support our industry.

Test Report July 2019>

Commercial plane crash deaths fell by more than 50% in 2019

Aviation deaths have fallen dramatically around the world, from more than 1,000 deaths worldwide as recently as 2005.

Air miles schemes encourage people to take flights, the report saysLast year there were eight fatal incidents involving commercial jets around the world

The number of people killed in large commercial airline crashes fell by more than half in 2019.

Last year was “one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation”, with an average of one fatality every 5.58 million flights.

The news comes from Dutch aviation consulting firm To70, which found that there were 86 accidents involving large commercial planes in 2019.

These included eight fatal incidents which resulted in 257 deaths.

In 2018, there were 160 accidents, including 13 fatal ones resulting in 534 deaths.

Boeing 737 MAX planes are being stored at several locations in the USBoeing 737 MAX planes were grounded after two fatal crashes within months

The worst crash of 2019 was on 10 March when 157 people were killed on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plane.

The aircraft type was grounded soon afterwards, as that crash had followed one the previous October near Indonesia which killed 189 people.

To70 said that, while the aviation industry was focused on future threats such as drones, it still needed to “focus on the basics that make civil aviation so safe: well-designed and well-built aircraft flown by fully-informed and well-trained crews”.

The plane had lost height during take-off. Pic: Kazakhstan Emergency Committee
Twelve people died in a crash in Kazakhstan. Pic: Kazakhstan Emergency Committee

The other main crashes of 2019 were a Fokker 100 in Kazakhstan in an accident that killed 12 people and an Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 that caught fire during an emergency landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport,
killing 41 people.

Aviation deaths have fallen dramatically around the world, from more than 1,000 deaths worldwide as recently as 2005.

2017 was the safest year so far, with only two fatal accidents resulting in 13 deaths, none of them from passenger jets.

The figures include passengers and air crew, as well as anyone killed on the ground in a plane accident.

They do not include accidents involving military flights, training flights, private flights, cargo operations and helicopters.

Aviation Safety>