ABOUT Airport firefighters across Canada have been subjected to 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.
Canada is a signatory member to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an international body that sets the standards for civil aviation. 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 important safety measures such as the quantity of firefighting product required and therefore, the number of personnel needed to be on staff. The problem is that the standards set by Transport Canada’s CARs are significantly lower than those established under ICAO. This puts us all at risk.
When issues around the various regulations that compromise airport firefighting were raised with Transport Canada, they responded that their primary concern is the financial viability of the airports. We believe that the regulator needs to be more concerned about setting the standards that protect travelers.
Airport firefighters are skilled professionals. All travelers deserve the assurance that in the event of a threat to their safety, there is an adequate number of trained professionals on hand to help.
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