AFOA members gathered at the NEC in Birmingham on 7 September to attend the association’s 2021 AGM, which was held on the first day of The Emergency Services Show.
AFOA Chairman Simon Petts opened proceedings by presenting a cheque for £2000, raised from association events, to Kerry James, Fundraising Manager at The Fire Fighters Charity.
Guest speaker Caroline Anderson QFSM, Vice Chair of Women in the Fire Service UK, introduced WFS, with whom AFOA has started to work closely. She outlined the work the organisation undertakes to inspire and support women working in fire and rescue services throughout the UK, including its regular training and development events. AFOA is starting a process to better understand the national picture of women working in airport fire services, in order to enable and inspire confident and successful women in the aviation fire fighting sector. In future, AFOA plans to hold workshops in collaboration with WFS.
Three new workstreams are being established at AFOA to review issues associated with the emerging areas of spaceports, alternative fuels (including lithium, hydrogen and ethanol), and emergency response driving (ERD), in the light of planned changes in the legislation covering the driving of emergency vehicles. All members with special interest in these areas are invited to come forward and contribute.
Chris Thain, of G3 Systems, who will lead the spaceport workstream, gave an overview of regulatory framework and legislation for the basics of fire safety and emergency response at spaceports. More information is on the AFOA website.
Civil Aviation Authority inspector Andy Fraser highlighted a number of recent changes that AFOA members should be aware of: post-Brexit, EASA references should be removed from all documentation, although ADR references can be retained; the new Air Navigation Order went live on 6th September. Article numbers have all changed; the CAA is now the UK space regulator. Spaceports first have to be licensed aerodromes; and RFFS Easements have been extended until January 2022.
Reece Büchner, Technical Sales Manager of FlamePro Global, who sponsored the event, introduced the company’s latest fire fighting PPE ranges and managed service for PPE cleaning, decontamination, care and maintenance.
The next two AFOA mini-conferences, currently limited to 30 attendees, will be: 8 December 2021, Training based event at the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC), Teesside, covering regulatory easements and RFFS compliance, to include IFTC fireground tour and VR training demonstration. A Christmas dinner will also be included; and 8-9 March 2022, on firefighter safety at Gatwick (details to be confirmed).
AFOA welcomes applications for speakers and sponsors at both of these events.