The safety of passengers is paramount in any world-class airport. At Changi Airport, our highly- trained Airport Emergency Service (AES) stand ready to provide rescue and fire protection at all times. In accordance to ICAO's standards and recommended practices, the level of fire protection at an aerodrome shall commensurate with the largest aircraft operated at that aerodrome. With reference to this, the AES provides a Category 10 level of fire protection, the highest possible fire protection coverage in accordance to ICAO standards.
At all times, AES fire-fighting vehicles respond to the scene of an aircraft accident in 2 minutes, not exceeding 3 minutes and bring the fires under control within a minute upon arrival. This is swiftly followed by rescue and evacuation efforts to nearby medical facilities.
In line with ICAO's recommendation to deal with aircraft crashes at the waters surrounding the airport, AES is equipped with sea rescue capabilities. It has a fleet of emergency resources based in a Sea Rescue Base off the waters of Changi Airport. Operating highly specialised emergency vessels and equipment in the event of aircraft incidents out at sea, the Sea Rescue Base is also the only hovercraft operator in Singapore.
There is an Airport Emergency Plan at Changi to coordinate the efforts of mutual aid agencies within the airport and its immediate vicinity. The AES is responsible for managing this plan and takes charge of the rescue and fire-fighting and other crash site operations of this plan. These plans are tested annually in the form of full-scale aircraft crash exercises with good support from the mutual aid agencies. AES also responds to other emergency situations within the airport. This includes response to dangerous goods incidents or bomb warning as well as Chemical or Biological threats.
The AES' fire-fighting tactics revolve mainly around the expert usage of foam solution, discharged through vehicle mounted monitors or water cannons, onto burning aircraft and aviation fuel spillage. It is extremely critical that the fire-fighting vehicles arrive expeditiously i.e. within 2 minutes to the ends of a runway, given the fact the fires can penetrate the fuselage or aircraft body within 4 minutes after a high impact crash. The situation is further aggravated if the aircraft is fully loaded with jet fuel.
To meet this demand, AES vehicles are custom made to exacting specifications. On top of meeting ICAO's specifications on top speed and acceleration criteria, the foam solution produced through the monitors should also possess excellent expansion and water retention qualities for quick knockdown of fires and for post fire security. All the vehicles are tested at least twice annually to ensure that the standards are always met.
Other ancillary vehicles owned by the AES include water tenders, ambulances, an emergency tender that carries stretchers and medical supplies and an Emergency Airstairs that aids the mass evacuation from the upper deck of the Airbus 380. AES has also strengthened its capabilities recently through the procurement of a High Reach Extendable Turret, or HRET, which allows us to pierce the aircraft fuselage to control and extinguish an aircraft interior fire as well as an Aerial Ladder Platform that allows us to perform fire-fighting and rescue at up to a height of 26 metres.