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28 Mar 2024

Dräger helps City of Derry Airport prioritise safety in action.

Draeger Safety UK Stand: 5/B190
Dräger helps City of Derry Airport prioritise safety in action.
Dräger, an international leader in the fields of medical and safety technology, has supported the City of Derry Airport in modernising its suite of personal protection equipment (PPE) and protocols to safeguard its specialist Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) from incident-based safety risk and the risks posed by carcinogens to which they are often exposed.

The City of Derry Airport is northwest Ireland’s largest airport which, at its pre-pandemic peak, provided over 200,000 passenger flights to the UK and southern Europe. The airport’s fire service provides aircraft safeguarding and an emergency response service for terminal buildings and low-traffic collisions on-site.

Today, the modern plastics and polymers found in buildings and aeroplanes as they burn release carcinogens and expose firefighters to a risk of cancer that is some two to four times higher than the general population, and could potentially shorten their life span by up to 20 years. Accordingly, as safety regulations tighten, fire services across the UK, including the City of Derry Airport, are upgrading their equipment and procedures to protect their crews and reduce cancer mortality rates.

The Derry management team assessed many different products to protect their employees. They chose Dräger’s HPS Safeguard helmet, for example, because it was extremely fast and easy to use compared to the existing equipment, especially when firefighters also needed respiratory protection equipment. The padded 3-point harness with versatile chin and neck straps, and coupled with an adjustment wheel placed  on the back of the helmet allowed for a safe and easy fit  to any head shape or size and can accommodate users who observed cultural or religious practices.

The helmet’s innovative design is such that various  external devices can be affixed to it with ease and enables hands-free operation of thermal imaging cameras, communication systems and lamps if required.

The team will also be introducing Dräger’s PSS AirBoss self-contained breathing apparatus to its firecrews in the near future to prevent inhalation of carcinogenic particulates. With its light weight and best-in-class ergonomics, it will also significantly reduce the physical strain on individuals during a shout.

Both the HPS Safeguard helmet and the PSS AirBoss are suitable for manual and machine washing. They are made with low-absorbent and liquid-repellent materials which take on fewer contaminants. The AirBoss also has a streamlined design to minimise dirt traps. All of this makes regular cleaning and decontamination of PPE required by current regulations extremely easy.

Best practice in firefighting is rapidly evolving in response to the latest understanding of cancer mortality and its causes. It is now understood that cancer-causing particles remain in the fibres of PPE and can contaminate other surfaces or people long after an incident takes place.  Today all PPE must be transported back to the workshop on the outside of an appliance to avoid contaminating the interior cab. Special holders and bags must be used to carry them to designated ‘dirty’ or decontamination areas to prevent transferring carcinogens to ‘clean’ kitchens, sleeping areas or other parts of the station.

The products will be covered by Dräger’s TotalCare Agreement, which means the crew and its equipment will benefit from maintenance, inspection and preventive care. Gerard McCloskey, Safety and Fire Officer at Derry Airport, says that providing routinely changeable service parts and kits is a significant advantage: “The spares facility will guarantee equipment uptime, and fill short term gaps should the need arise,” he explains.

The TotalCare service includes engineer callouts, routine checks and calibrations and advice on equipment best practice.

Elizabeth Millward, Marketing Manager at Draeger Safety UK, says protecting from harm in the unique environment posed by the airport is no easy task: “Firefighters must be protected and the progressive approach that the City of Derry Airport is taking towards meeting the new health and safety service standards is particularly impressive.

“Alongside our new equipment and Total Care service, many crews are also implementing mechanical cleaning solutions, which can provide further protection from carcinogenic risk. As always, we are committed to providing ‘technology for life’ and help forward thinking services combat the dangers that fire and rescue operations may pose.”

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