Providing platforms to engage with the industry and promote excellence in aviation firefighting will be priorities for the Airport Fire Officers Association (AFOA) in the coming year as New Chair Outlines AFOA Vision for 2020. This is according to AFOA’s new Chairman John Purdy, who has taken over from Gatwick Airport’s Chief Fire Officer, Simon Petts after four years in the role.
Currently Airports Commercial Training Manager at Newcastle International Airport Service, John Purdy has many years’ experience in aviation firefighting, offshore oil and gas firefighting and safety and security training. He started his career serving with the RAF Fire Service in the UK and abroad before joining Newcastle International Airport where he worked through the ranks to become station manager in 2007. As Chairman, John will lead AFOA’s latest projects which include organising industry-led events with the support of manufacturers and suppliers, working closely with the American Airport Fire Officers Association Working Group and running an annual charity golf day to support the Fire Service Charity.
Simon Petts, who will remain on the AFOA committee as Vice Chair, has seen AFOA through a period of significant change. Key achievements include introducing the JESIP team into the Rescue & Fire Fighting Services arena through a series of workshops, bringing in a dedicated AFOA finance manager, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Fire Officers Association Working Group, and launching the new AFOA website. The website will continue to play an important role in facilitating dialogue among the industry as John explains, “Our members play a key role in influencing the important work we do in sharing information and resourcing specific projects. The introduction of a members’ forum to the AFOA website is already helping to build engagement and we will be making further improvements in the coming months.”
Meanwhile the AFOA Annual Conference at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole from 11 to 13 February 2020 will provide a face-to-face arena for collaborating and sharing best practice in safety, security and incident management. Key speakers include Dai Whittingham, Chief Executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee and Josh Bratchley, one of the UK divers from the Thai Cave rescue. The National Fire Chiefs Council will be running workshops and there will also be an update from AFOA’s new Fire Safety Sub Group. The conference has already attracted over 160 delegates including airport fire officers and local authority liaison officers, as well as manufacturers, training providers and equipment suppliers, while exhibition space has sold out.
“With the new venue and line-up of excellent speakers, workshops, entertainment and networking opportunities, the committee is looking forward to delivering AFOA’s biggest and best annual conference to date,” says John.