Mostar Airport Fire-fighters

Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente
First published in
SFOR Informer#135, March 28, 2002

The Mostar Airport Fire Team belonging to the Air French Detachment carried out a series of exercises on Europe Base March 19. The training consisted of three different emergency drills, in which fire fighters improved their personal technical skills.

Mostar - In order to provide the best answer against all kinds of crisis situations, the Airport French Fire Brigade performed three different practices which consisted of rescuing the crew of a crashed aircraft, evacuating injured persons from a high building and extinguishing several kinds of fires.

"The Fire Brigade has to be ready to act at any time as an emergency service. We have a daily shift to cover this duty. There are seven firemen in each turn, one in the control office and two truck teams ready to leave. The usual alarm is a phone call. In the case of an aeronautical emergency, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) calls us and the medical service at the same time through a hot line," said WO2 Alain Geron.

Rescue crashed airplane's crew
"Our main mission is to protect the aircraft from landing to taking off including movements on the apron; our secondary mission is provide cover for the rest of the base," said Geron.
"In the case of a damaged airplane we always use two teams each with a truck. The chief of the two teams uses the first lorry, which carries all the special equipment and is also the faster. The chief is part of the first team. The first team has to join the aircraft and rescue the crew, while the second team fights against the fire and covers the entrance of the first one," said WO2 Frédéric Prunot.

"We have the capability to cut any kind of aeronautical structure with our heavy hydraulic equipment in order to enter the aircraft. A doctor comes with us when we go inside and gives the "go/no go" to rescue the injured. Then our job consists of taking the injured out without causing any new injuries or increasing the wounds. We have very good special equipment in order to perform our job," commented Prunot.

Evacuate the Tower
"In this part of the exercise we train a specific urban drill. We have different procedures and equipment that allow us to adapt to the situation. In this case a slightly injured person has to be evacuated from a high building. We can not use the stairs or the lift for security reasons. We divide into two teams. The first one works up inside the building and the other works down outside. The up team does the anchorages, the rope structure and prepares the injured to be evacuated. The down team descends and receives him. Our job is the safe evacuation of the injured," said WO2 Noël Ricoveri.
"We are part of the emergency equipment within the help chain. We always work closely with the medical services and our job usually finishes where the medical job begins," commented Ricoveri.


Related links:
Nations of SFOR: France

Training and Exercises

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Photo: Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente

Just when the rescue job is finished, the medical one begins.

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After the doctor has said "go", the rescue team begins the careful work of immobilising the injured in order to avoid damaging in his spine.

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The end result after clearing the fire.

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WO2 Ricoveri prepares the victim, Cpl. Astrid Hinschbercve, to be evacuated.

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The firefighter Cpl. Frederic Meilender is ready to extinguish the fire.