By Donstance Koroma
The General Manager, Sierra Leone Airport Authority SLAA, Ebenezer Macaulay said the decision by management to procure the most sophisticated firefighting Engine of the time was a step in the right direction.
He noted the Reservoir Panther fire engine cost over eight hundred thousand dollars.
Before now, the General Manager stated they were having serious issues with airlines that wanted to commence operations in Sierra Leone but due to the type of the fire engine the Airport was having makes it impossible.
The level of protection was also among the things that discourage other aircrafts to land in Sierra Leone Macaulay said.
With the advent of the new fire engine, a change in the country ranking from category 7-10 which he said will enable the Airport to accommodate bigger and wider aircrafts.
Brussels, for instance, he noted wants to change its aircraft to a bigger one, because the panther fire engine was yet around, they were finding it difficult to reach an agreement.
The General Manager stated that as its stands, negotiation with Brussels is at its tail end.
Ebenezer Macaulay said the fire engine is the biggest in West Africa as Sierra Leone is the only country in the region with such fire engine.
He further disclosed that the Sierra Leone Airport Authority have recently gone through the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO audit and the Apex Safety Assessment by Airport International respectively.
According to the General Manager, ICAO security audit looked into the security setup of the Airport which he disclosed has landed the authority with high passing marks that he believed will further improve the country’s rating in the Aviation world .
The Apex Safety Assessment, he said focused on certain bench marks the Airport should meet among them was the issue of standard fire engine and the issue of interrupted power supply which he noted the authority have met as they have recently purchased a 1.1 megawatt generator with promise of 650 megawatts generator by President Bio to finally put an end to the issue of power cut within the Airport and its environs.
He noted that it will bring durable solution to the major concerns of service providers in the Airport terminal.
The head of the Fire Service Department, Mahmoud Koroma said his department is charged with the responsibility of addressing issues of fire within the Airport and also ensures that standards rescue and firefighting systems march up with international best practices.
The Chief Fire Officer said before now, the country was operating between standard 1-7 but with the coming of the most sophisticated fire engine in the region, the country’s now operates between standards 1-10.
Mahmoud Koroma continued that fire engine is the same the world over, the category determines the amount of vehicles the fire engine carries within the Airport.
He noted the fire engine carry two tanks, the foam and water tanks that with a click of the power takeoff button PTO of the fire engine both the foam and water comes together to give an output to target the object they intend fighting .
ICAO conditionality demands that Airports world over must have a standard firefighting engine and that firefighting officers should respond to any fire incident within the Airport in two minutes, Mahmoud Koroma noted
International standards also demand that the first fire engine to the reach the fire should discharge 50 percent of what it carries, he stressed.
He assured the public that the Airport have five fire engines with only fire engine BM80 with a minor problem.