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Airport Fire Department

The fire service Dortmund Airport

The fire prevention service and the fire station at Dortmund Airport are manned by part-time and full-time firefighters.

The team of part-time firefighters, also known as LZ 30, has the same status as a voluntary fire service. It currently consists of 33 employees of the ground handling service who have FI training (basic training for the voluntary fire service). During operating hours, six employees hold positions in the fire service alongside their normal jobs as ground handlers. These employees work in the immediate vicinity of the eastern fire station. In the event of an alarm, they man their vehicles and are deployed by the officer in charge alongside their full-time colleagues. 

Until 2007, the full-time firefighting team at the airport consisted of 10 people. Because of the increased number of passengers at the airport, the decision was made to recruit new employees to bring the team up to 21 members by 1 May 2007. Seven employees of the ground handling service underwent basic training (BI) at the Dortmund fire service to become fire officers. In addition, four firefighters from the Dortmund fire service were moved to the airport to join the team of fire officers. The team currently has 21 members who work in shifts during each 24-hour period. This means that five full-time firefighters are on duty at any one time. With the six part-time firefighters, this makes a total of 11 available during operating hours to maintain the necessary high safety standards at Dortmund Airport. Outside operating hours, the full-time firefighters are responsible only for the fire prevention systems in the buildings. During these periods, they carry out regular inspections of the systems.

This team structure has proved to function effectively. The ground handlers are fully familiar with the different aircraft, the local conditions and the technical equipment and facilities at the airport. The full-time firefighters have extensive firefighting experience and a variety of special training. This combination of professional firefighters, former ground handlers and the part-time firefighting team, combined with a high standard of training, ensures that the airport fire service is effective and efficient.

Further details on the airport fire service

The field of operations covers the entire airport grounds, including all buildings and open spaces. In the case of an accident involving an aircraft, the airport fire service is deployed within a three-mile radius (approx. 5 km).

The airport fire service is responsible for fire protection, emergency planning and fire prevention. In the event of a major incident, it is supported by the Dortmund and Unna fire services as well as by aid organisations.

On the airfield side, the fire service works according to the guidelines of the INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO). The ICAO determines the requirements for all the fire services at civil airports worldwide.

In the event of an incident, the fire service carries out patrolling tasks, e.g. when an alarm is set off, takes action in the case of fires, or provides technical assistance.

A further major task is the rescue service. Here, the fire service acts as a first responder. This means that they provide first aid for all types of injuries or illnesses among passengers, visitors or employees. Where necessary, the patients are passed on to the city rescue service and transported to a hospital for outpatient or inpatient treatment. Air medical services receive technical and personnel support as required.

Fire prevention is a further interesting and extensive field of activity of the airport fire service. Building conversion measures are monitored by the fire service from planning through to completion. It issues welding permissions to subcontractors and posts fire attendants as required. State-of-the-art technical facilities such as sprinkler systems and smoke extraction fans partly need to be inspected during the night as this work cannot be performed during operating hours. All the airport employees receive fire protection instruction once a year. Here, employees are trained in the use of fire extinguishers and on other important fire protection topics.

An important, but atypical task for a fire service is bird control. Upon request by pilots, the tower or apron controllers, individual birds or entire flocks have to be shooed off the runway area in order to ensure uninterrupted flight operations.

Not all of the training activities can be carried out at the airport itself. Special training courses are provided by the Dortmund paramedics school, the specialist departments of the Dortmund fire service, other airport fire services, practical respiratory protection and firefighting training at the Deutschen Montantechnologie (DMT) and by independent tutors.

Further airport-specific training takes place at the Stuttgart airport fire service (aircraft recovery) and at special training centres in Teesside (UK).

All of the full-time firefighters are in possession of a German-language aviation radio communications certificate (BZF II).

Airport fire service vehicles