A group of airport firefighters is firing up for emergency
situations without any aircraft or firefighting gear!
Christchurch Airport is the first in New Zealand to use custom
designed Virtual Reality (VR) technology for training, using
programmes its firefighters have helped shape over recent
The airport's Manager Digital Solutions and Data Technology, Art
Martinson, says the VR training has been developed locally, in
collaboration with the airport company and its firefighters.
"Our VR platform takes us from observation to immersion, so it's
the next generation of training and recruitment," Art says. "We'll
continue to develop more simulations of real situations that are
otherwise almost impossible to train for in real life."
Manager of the Airport Fire Service, Chief Fire Officer Peter
Moore, says all his firefighting teams have taken the VR training
with very positive responses.
"VR replicates fire scenarios on a scale not possible in our
training area, so it's a valuable new tool," says Peter. "Our
firefighters can use this training to prepare for an actual
aircraft emergency, so when the time comes they will be in an
environment they are familiar with and confident in. This VR
training is an extra tool for our teams to become more familiar
with aircraft systems and layout, and will further build muscle
Tim Morris, Manager Airfield Operations, says the airport
firefighters are first on the scene of more than 500 emergencies on
the airport campus every year.
"That includes fires, rescues, alarm activations and hazardous
material spills, medical emergencies and aircraft incidents," Tim
says. "Our team trains every day to meet tough standards, and
this new technology offers an extra component, enabling the
firefighters to train for difficult situations they can't always
access, such as inside aircraft."
Tim Morris says this investment in the airport fire service is
also an investment in the airport, where safety for everyone on
campus is non-negotiable.