If your plane were to crash, how many airport firefighters would be available to help?
Canadian Airport Firefighters have witnessed a continuous erosion of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) with regards to firefighting and rescue services. Over the years, Transport Canada has allowed airports to reduce service standards to the bare minimum. In some instances, there are only one or two firefighters on call while planes carrying hundreds of passengers are taking off and landing. UCTE has been sounding the alarm bell for years with Transport Canada – unfortunately the alarms have been ignored.
The fact is that Canada is a signatory member to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an international body that sets the standards for civil aviation by which all countries agree to abide. Like the standards set by ICAO, under Transport Canada’s CARs, airport operators use the number of passenger movements in the previous month to determine things such as the quantity of firefighting product required and therefore, the number of personnel needed to be on staff. The problem: the standards set by Transport Canada’s CARs is significantly less than that established under ICAO. This should not happen.
At one time, when UCTE raised our members’ concerns about the problems with the regulations that impact airport firefighting, Transport Canada advised that their primary concern is the financial viability of the airports. Obviously, the regulator’s priority is screwed up. They should be more concerned about the safety of the travelling public and not being the friend of airport operators.
After years of trying to convince Transport Canada to do the right thing, UCTE and PSAC have launched the Safe Landings Canada Campaign. Our goal is to raise public awareness about the gamble airports and Transport Canada are taking with their safety.
Visit https://www.safelandingscanada.ca/ to send a letter to the Minister of Transport demanding that the airport firefighting standards be at least the bare minimum of those set for the rest of the world.
Airport firefighters are specialized skilled professionals. All travelers deserve the assurance that should something happen, there is an adequate number of trained professionals available to help.