In an Australian first, Airservices Australia has launched a new rescue vehicle at Melbourne Airport which can rapidly deliver stairs to the tallest of commercial passenger planes.
The emergency stairs unit extends to 8.5 metres, higher than the upper entry level of an A380, quickly and safely to provide aviation rescue fire fighters access in emergencies and also to evacuate passengers, if required, without the need for aircraft slides.
The six-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle has been specially adapted for Australian conditions after consultation between Airservices and the Austrian manufacturer Rosenbauer.
Operated by a single fire fighter, the emergency stairs unit can be controlled from either the cab of the vehicle, or from the rescue platform itself, guided by three cameras to assist with docking.
Airservices Acting Chief Fire Officer Steve Davies said the unit is considered a significant contribution to the capability of our fire fighters.
“This vehicle adds a new dimension to the role and provides a real example of teamwork in its design and delivery,” he said.
Rosenbauer Managing Director Arthur Weimer agreed. “Our designers in Austria worked closely with Airservices to deliver a one-of-a-kind vehicle. We are pleased to see it operational.”
The vehicle can be used on uneven ground and is equipped with eight firefighting outlets including a connected quick deployment 60-metre hose reel.
Designed to provide additional support to specialist aviation fire trucks in operational responses, the emergency stairs unit includes a 1380-litre water tank and 200-litre foam tank.
Airservices will review the use and performance of the new emergency stairs at Melbourne Airport before looking at introducing them at other major airports around the country.
Airservices is Australia’s air navigation service provider. It provides safe, secure, efficient and environmentally-responsible air traffic control, air navigation and aviation rescue fire-fighting services.
Aviation rescue fire fighters work at 26 airports across Australia to protect travellers and workers at Australia’s busiest airports and respond to a broad range of aviation and airport emergencies.
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