Continual Training at Airport Fire Rescue Service
A number of Airport Fire and Rescue Service personnel were actively engaged in various specialist training courses during December. In the first instance FF Craig Bonnici, who recently qualified as a firefighter in October, returned to the UK for aviation specific training. This 2-week aircraft firefighting and rescue course took place at the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC) in Teesside where he was able to further develop his skills and knowledge at this specialist centre.
The IFTC has extensive facilities to allow very realistic aviation related fire and rescue scenarios. This intensive course covered all areas necessary to qualify him for his future role and provided an opportunity for FF Bonnici to widen his experience, working alongside colleagues from various UK airports. Following his return, he has now commenced a further local development training phase as an operational firefighter on crew at the AFRS.
In early December AFRS Deputy Senior Fire Officer, Adrian Hernandez, attended a Senior Airport Officers’ course held by SimTrainer in the UK. This was another excellent opportunity to work alongside senior officers from across UK airports over 3 days. The course delivery focussed on real life case studies, JESIP principles, Tactical and Strategic Coordinating Groups, compliance audits and review processes appropriate to their roles. A Skills for Justice accredited course, it was also most valuable for networking with the delegates, sharing and learning from each other’s varied experiences.
Additionally, an on-line course was also undertaken locally by seven AFRS personnel on The Incident Command Skills system (THINCS). This course centred on training individuals to identify the non-technical skills that underpin effective incident command in the Fire Service and learning to assess these behavioural markers using a rating system that captures skills which are key to ensuring effective performance, safety and welfare.
The THINCS behavioural marker system has been designed to produce valid, reliable assessments of the performance of safety-critical personnel. Embraced by UK Fire Service National Operational Guidance, the system aims to identify issues by differentiating between levels of performance, learn from these, reduce occurrences of human error and improve effectiveness and safety. THINCS is issued under licence from Cardiff University which also provided the free 3-day on-line training.
Continually developing its personnel at all levels, facilitating new skills and knowledge is vital for the operational readiness of the AFRS team. Organisational and individual self-improvement underpin its strategic operating principles which ensure that the team moves forwards in a dynamic cycle of improvement, responding effectively to the evolving challenges facing Fire Services.