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GACA accords priority to fire, rescue services at all airports
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 03 - 2020

RIYADH — The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) adheres to the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), especially those related to safety, fire and rescue at all of its airports.
Availability of units that specialize in providing fire and rescue services at every airport is a prerequisite for the airport to operate and obtain an international license, according to the 14th annex of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation relating to the design and operation of airports.
Moreover, GACA always maintains that fire and rescue is the first line of defense to face aviation accidents and secure the safety of lives and facilities at airports. Due to this, GACA has provided all the airports with equipment that are compatible with the latest developments and global technology. The fleets of huge vehicles capable of carrying large amounts of water and foam (fire extinguishing materials), and other advanced devices and equipment, which enables fire and rescue services to reach any accident or fire occurring in the vicinity or airport facilities within a maximum of three minutes.
GACA has attracted and trained cadres necessary to carry out the tasks of fire and rescue services in airports. The fire and rescue staff were to join specialized training courses to keep pace with global developments in this field, through the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation. The aforementioned academy includes a specialized training center in the field of fire and rescue services, and offers the following programs: High Diploma of Fire and Rescue (3 years), Diploma of Alarm Operators (6 months), Airport Fire Fighting Diploma (6 months), Induction program for paramedics (3 months).
The center also provides short development courses for various jobs in airport fire and rescue services, including (hazardous materials, educational and operational level, technical, first and second level firefighting classes, command and operation, aircraft firefighting, first fire inspector, first fire trainer, and first fire officer).
The center relies on a set of tools, including: technical training according to international standards, training in advanced analogous models. It covers the needs of GACA of qualified firefighters, it also markets its training programs and various courses for those interested in this field. This is in addition to ensuring the quality of training programs through its various global partnerships.
The fire and rescue services cover all emergency situations within the airport boundaries. They also respond to accidents that occur outside the airport within the framework of the agreement with the competent authorities in the region.
There are 1,347 employees in the fire and rescue services at the Kingdom's airports. That have been divided in 28 firefighting and rescue units in the Kingdom's airports, while there are 784 employees working in airports that have turned into companies.
The Fire and Rescue Training Center at the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation of the General Authority of Civil Aviation obtained the first domestic and international accreditation from the Aviation Standards Department in the General Authority of Civil Aviation in 2018. At the end of 2019, the center achieved a new international achievement after its approval by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) as one of the accredited members in the field of training, during an international conference in Kentucky, USA.
During the year 2019, the academy's fire and rescue training center witnessed the graduations of 15 diploma holders (alarm operators) , and 19 paramedics.
Meanwhile, the academy held 154 training courses in the field of fire and rescue that were successfully passed by 2,596 employees working at various airports in the Kingdom.


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