Aviation Minister Commissions N12M Fire Tenders At Lagos
...Says They Are Very Critical To Safety
Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika has said that the absence of fire cover at any aerodrome or inadequate fire cover is enough to either shutdown or downgrade the facility.
He said that the Loyola Jesuit Sosoliso crash of December 10, 2005 in Port Harcourt was further agravated by the lack of fire cover which hastened the death of the children in that crash.
Sirika stated these while taking delivery of the remaining 8 of the 10 Volkan Lion 6×6 fire fighting vehicles delivered to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Aeronautical Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) worth over N12 billion at the weekend.
He explained that the importance of this safety equipment cannot be over emphasised because they are key to safe, secure and efficient take off and landingin the sector.
According to him, “To non- aviators and onlookers, you see fite fighting equipment but the importance and relevance ia not brought onto focus especially for people watching from afar whose only concern is to board aircraft and use air conditioned terminals.”
“For us, that is important too but most important is tp keep you safe. You all remember our children that left Abuja for Port Harcourt in the Sosoliso crash? We couldn’t save those children because even though the plane landed , crashed they were still alive but yhe airport did not hsvr adequate fire cover to save those ones and parents were seeing their children burning alive, children they sent to school. That is so sad,” he lamented.
Speaking further, Sirika, said, “For 15 years no fire tender has been supplied to us, we just cannibalise two or three to make one. And the absence of fire cover is the number one reason to shut down airports and even if you dont have enough, you downgrade the airport to a lower category.”
Earlier in his opening remark,the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu said the 10 super-structure, ultra-modern major firefighting vehicles would be deployed to
MMA Lagos, NAIA Abuja and MAKIA Kano.
He added that FAAN is currently processing for additional vehicles for Port-Harcourt and Enugu.
Giving a breakdown of the capabilities of the equipment, Yadudu said,” Each vehicle not only carries 14,000 litres of water; 1,700 litres of foam and 250kg powder capacity.It also monitors the discharge rate of between 6,000Litres to 10,000 litres per minute. Acceleration rate is from 0 to 80km/hr in 30 seconds.
According to him, “The truck can discharge while in motion (professional pump and roll operation) and is equipped with under chassis nozzles to tackle running fuel fire. These vehicles would be deployed to MMA Lagos, NAIA Abuja and MAKIA Kano while we are also processing for additional vehicles for Port-Harcourt and Enugu.”
He continued, “In addition to acquisition of the major firefighting vehicles we have procured eight (8) new water tankers for continuous agent applications and more will still come. Additional 11 ambulances were also procured to replace the obsolete ones that were bought in 1996. For the first time the Fire Chiefs have their Response Commanders’ Vehicles, the two new Prado jeeps were deployed to MMA and NAIA respectively, more will also be procured in due course.
According to him, comprehensive training for the end users of these vehicles and mechanical units would be given to ensure the vehicles are not only used as specified by the manufacturers, but would also be maintained accordingly