Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Bengaluru: KIA’s fiery women brigade displays firefighting prowess

Bengaluru: Suma BN, 21, a resident of Devanahalli, feels she has inspired several other women in her locality to take up traditionally male-dominated jobs. For the past six months, she’s been an integral part of Kempegowda International Airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) squad, a department that was earlier considered a male stronghold.
Suma is among the 14 women firefighters that Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), operator of KIA, inducted on February 19, 2018. With this, it became the first airport in the country to have a 14-member female firefighting team. The airport currently has a total of 265 firefighters.
“Now, I’m a role model for all the girls in my locality. They have more confidence about foraying into jobs and sectors that are considered male-dominated,” said Suma.
One year after their four-month training at Airports Authority of India’s Fire Service Training Centre in Kolkata and induction into the ARFF squad at Bengaluru airport, the women firefighters demonstrated their emergency rescue service process in a mock fire drill conducted at the airport premises on Tuesday.
“The training was very difficult initially and there was a point where I was almost about to quit. However, I stayed and now I’m extremely proud. I have to stand under the scorching sun for several hours in a day but I’m about the work I’m doing,” said Suma, who is now part of the ARFF team looking after both the north and new south parallel runway (NSPR).
The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting squad is a specialised team involved in response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and rescue of passengers and crew during an emergency. They respond to aviation emergencies that occur within 8km of the airport boundary.
“Initially, when I told my family and neighbours about the nature of my work, they were appalled and a bit wary since not many women become firefighters. They then understood that it’s a unique field and encouraged me,” said Priyadarshini B from Kalaburagi.
04/03/20 Times of India

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