The Slovakian Air Force firefighters have undergone training at the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston, Kent, UK, to learn the skills required to manage serious aircraft fires.
Involving six Slovakian firefighters, the course was carried out for a week and included training on incident command techniques and aircraft firefighting tactics.
Conducted for one of the UK’s major Nato partners, the training is considered to be important as several aircraft of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and its Nato partners often land aircraft in Slovakia.
Manston brigade training manager and area manager Ken Cross said: “With many British C-17 aircraft landing in Slovakia as part of Nato, the offer of training was extended.
“Our facilities replicate realistic fire conditions.”
The training was provided by military fire safety personnel from the UK, in addition to the civilian experts from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
As part of the course, the Slovakian Air Force firefighters participated in both classroom and live firefighting exercises carried out using several different retired RAF aircraft donated to the Kent facility.
Slovakian Air Force Firefighting Service staff sergeant Michal Fusi said: “In Slovakia, we don’t have these kinds of facilities, so when the opportunity came up to come to the UK we took it.
“This is a big experience for us and a chance to improve our skills, it is very beneficial for us.
“We will be able to pass on the skills we have picked up here to our colleagues back home.”
The training area at the facility was equipped with fire simulators such as a ‘firewall’ and one that is shaped like a large aircraft with seats inside, which can be used to replicate a real aircraft such as a C-17 Globemaster.
The Defence Fire Risk Management facility in Manston conducts training for firefighters from across all three services of defence.