Fire stations of the world: Brussels Airport unveils two brand new ‘state of the art’ energy-efficient fire stations
Brussels Airport unveiled two brand new ‘state of the art’ energy-efficient fire stations in March 2019. The 145-strong fire department at Brussels Airport now operates from two brand-new fire stations, which are located in the eastern and western sections of the airport grounds. The fire stations are specifically designed for responding to emergency situations, are energy-efficient and provide plenty of space for housing the fire brigade’s extensive fleet. “Our new fire stations belong to the best in Europe, they are designed to enable even more efficient operations in case of an emergency intervention and are equipped with the latest technologies. They furnish our fire department with everything it needs to respond quickly and appropriately to emergency situations. The buildings were designed with special attention to sustainability; both have a high energy performance and are very economical with water”, says Brussels Airport Company CEO, Arnaud Feist. The stations are home of a team of 145 firemen and women working round the clock 24/7, in five operational teams. A team typically consists of one deputy manager, a adjunct deputy manager, four technicians, 14 fire fighters and six ambulance drivers. Brussels Airport has 540 actual interventions per year of which 42 percent are aviation related. Out of 28 percent being fire alarms, only one third are actual fires while 13 percent are technical interventions, seven percent are logistical interventions and five percent are incidents that include hazardous substances.
The two new fire stations are located in the eastern and western sections of the airport grounds and they replace the three old fire stations that were located in the northern and southern sections and next to the airport terminal. The new location between runways 25R and 25L, flanking the airport grounds, enables fire fighters to provide an even faster response during emergencies.
Totalling 7 017 square meters of ground area, including a building ground area of 4 632 for the West Station and 2 565 square meters of ground area, including a building ground area of 1 413 square metres for the East Station, the two garage have enabled a ‘drive-through’ in order to speed up and ease the operations.
The airport fire brigade’s emergency response times were factored into the fire station’s design. In the event of an incident on the tarmac, the fire brigade must be on site within three minutes. For a problem in the terminal or another airport building, they must attend within five minutes. The new design enables fire fighters to exit the fire station within 30 seconds of an alarm. By doing so, the airport fire brigade is fully compliant with response times required by aviation law.
Both fire stations have a central garage with sufficient space for all vehicles that are required to remain on standby for emergencies, such as crash tenders and fire-extinguishing robots. The vehicles park in the garage according to the ‘keep moving’ principle, ensuring that vehicles never have to exit the garage in reverse.
In addition to the garage, the fire station also houses various technical rooms, meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology, offices, living and relaxation quarters.
Demonstration including fire fighting robot
Brussels Airport Fire Department demonstrated their skills and dedication during a ‘drill exercise’, using one of the three training aircraft. The exercise featured a crash tender, which has a water reserve between 12 500 and 16 500 litres, a foam tank between 1 000 and 3 000 litres. The pump capacity is between 7 000 to 11 600 litres per minute.
Also featured was the department fire fighting robot, which is aiming at even more dangerous places like aircraft hangars and tunnels. The robot can throw at a distance of 60 metres, at a speed up to 6km/h. Its nozzle ring can deliver 400 litres per minute where the pump can deliver up to 2 400 litres per minute.
Sustainable, energy-neutral design
Both Fire Station East and West are extremely energy efficient buildings. The power that is needed is produced by almost 800 solar panels which have been installed on both roofs. The lighting is comprised entirely of LED lamps, whilst the fire station’s heating and cooling requirements are taken care of via heat pumps. Solar water heaters heat the water in the building’s sanitary installations.
Water collectors have been placed on the roofs to enable the collection of rainwater for recycling as fire extinguishing water or for sanitary purposes. The combined collectors of both barracks can hold 230 000 litres of water, which almost enables them to fill their eight crash tenders twice over.
Large windows have been installed to the northern end of Fire Station West, to ensure that less cooling is required in the summer. Both fire stations are also constructed from concrete to facilitate the later recycling of the buildings.
Sources: Brussels Airport and Aviation 24 Belgium
Photos: Brussels Airport and Martin Gillet