Running In When Others Runs Out; Talk with Mr Madhu Sudan Thapa, Aviation Rescue and Firefighters at TIA, Nepal

Running In When Others Runs Out; Talk with Mr Madhu Sudan Thapa, Aviation Rescue and Firefighters at TIA, Nepal

Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
Nepalese ARFF

When normal people glance around the airport, they probably can only fetch 1% of ongoing operation happening around the airport area, while the reality covers much more high sophisticated level of operation taking place each single moment with minute detailing.

Airports are one of the highly secured and sensitive areas as it’s an entrance likewise an exit point to any people, perhaps VIPs, celebrities, tourist and local citizens or likely to be a door to an incidents and accidents of aircraft while on takeoff and landing process.

Incidents and accidents don’t alarm before they come, it’s an unwelcome call and when it happens it happens. All we can do is pre- exercise to break the call. Since Airport operates numerous flights every day, likely drops high possibilities of mishap at any corner of time, so how and which section of airport operation counters such complications and obstacles? Well, they are called as Aviation Rescue and Firefighter (ARFF). ARFF is a special category of firefighting that involves the immediate response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in (typically) an airport ground emergency.

Besides the glamour that airport carries is also these unseen heroes behind the scene during airport as well aircraft emergency evacuation of crucial moment. Emergency call is highly hectic, risky, precarious and precise, one can barely get time to applaud or put gratuities for saving their life to these Aviation Rescue and Firefighters but they own immense respect in their heart for eternal.

Talking about such a boon of a country AviationNepal has a prerogative to talk and share the experiences of a youth who has been serving a nation, standing against possibly every kind of fire, protecting the people regardless risking his life in danger, Mr Madhu Sudan Thapa, a prolific member of Aviation Rescue and Firefighter at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal since last three years and the country representative of Aviation Rescue and Firefighting ARFF WORKING GROUP USA for Nepal under section 10.

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Mr. Thapa

Mr. Thapa expresses his gratitude’s and feels blessed to be the part of this profession, working in the aviation fire and rescue sector, he believes that ARFF personnel are the true heroes to risk their life for the purpose of saving life of others without second thought. He adds; every second decides about the life and death during emergency operations.

He continued; this particular thought have always struck in my mind during emergency call operation “Running In When Others Runs Out”.

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Mr. Thapa on proximity suits

How you define yourself and your profession?

With greetings, it’s me Madhu Sudan Thapa, currently working as an Aviation Rescuer and firefighter at TIA in airport rescue and firefighting division and well I feel proud to define myself as real human being who feels happy serving the people, and my job has given that culmination to frame my humanity into my work. I love my work and along with it I am also the president of Aakar Nepal, Youth led social organization. I feel like both social work and arff are humantarian work in different way .

And to talk about my profession, I truly believe it’s beyond just a profession. I carry an intangible feeling and it’s hard to sumup with few words, but feels like I just did a meditation after accomplishing my mission. My profession is My respect.

How did you follow this path? Anyone to inspire you?

Love for aviation had been there since my childhood as my father himself is the part of aviation, working in same filed that I have been following now, he is a senior fire officer at TIA. Initially, though I love the aviation but had not thought to pursue my dream of becoming ARFF. I was all set to fly abroad for further studies but I was fortunate enough that my career took this direction, and Yes! My father pushed me little further to join this profession.

What further training and studies have you acquired after joining this profession?

Preliminary, I received basic training at our own TIA facility, Nepal and flew to Denmark, where I gained advanced instructor training under Copenhagen Airport Rescue and Fire Academy. On addition I was fortunate enough to attain ARFF Vision 2020 And The Challenges Ahead International Conference at Bangalore, India along with fire Manager Mr. Bhola Badhur Regmi who guided me to be there. Moreover, I have taken Leadership Training from Hong Kong, which is vital training required during rescue operation.

Would like to thank Mr Kim T. Olsen, chief of Copenhagen Airport Rescue and Fire Academy and all other instructors of Copenhagen for guiding me and giving world class ARFF training for me and my colleague.

Further I wanted to continue my education journey in Aviation Management but unfortunately this course is not available in Nepal that is why I am waiting to join this course eagerly and hopefully someday soon.

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Advanced Training at Copenhagen Airport Rescue and Fire Academy
Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
A320 mock up real fire training
Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
A320 mock up real fire training

Any unforgettable experience during ARFF?

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Turkish Airline’s Airbus A330 crash landed on Mar 4, 2015 at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)

There is indeed, and this incident has also changed me in constructive way and perhaps will remain within me till the end of my life. The Turkish Airline’s Airbus A330 crash landed on Mar 4, 2015 at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) which is the major incident that I have faced until today. After the emergency call, I was in fire command vehicle. I still can recall it crystal clear and can feel the situation, I was happy as we were in time and we extinguished the aircraft that was on fire, evacuated and rescued all the passengers safely.

When I stepped into the passengers cabin, I could feel the vibe of humongous fear in the peoples scream, with no thoughts being a fighter I spoke out a hope and fed them a belief that ‘you guys are safe now, the aircraft in now under ARFF control, there is nothing to worry about’ and well, it did work as a relief medicine to them. A hope that can change anyone’s life, which was something I learned after that incident. I was particularly dealing at the right side of the airplane, and the foggy weather halted the operation in adverse way but however we were able to pull the game in our favor. At the end I feel the utmost pride being in this profession, it’s worth being an ARFF. It is all about team work and salute goes to my all friends involved in that crash.

Present firefighting condition on Your working place TIA

Currently, we are upholding 9 Category; three Rosenbauer Panther Vehicles 6 into 6 in operations, on the other hand we have sufficient firefighting extinguishing agent in our facility during any fatal call.

Now people are more aware and have respect toward fire, and let me add this; aviation firefighter is absolutely different, highly advanced and sophisticated in comparison to local fire vehicle.

Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
Doing standard procedure drill in Nepal
Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
Doing standard procedure drill in Nepal
Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
Doing standard procedure drill in Nepal
Aviation Rescue and Firefighters - aviationnepal
Doing standard procedure drill in Nepal

How many of Nepal do airports have ARFF service?

Excluding TIA, Kathmandu, there are five airports; Biratanagr, Pokhara, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj & Simira, which have ARFF facility and recently Surket and Lukla have facilitated with small vehicle firefighter whereas on rest of the airports, wheel embodied extinguisher are available.

Have you spread any fire awareness knowledge at community level?

Yes we do, we have Nepal rescue and firefighting association group of ARFF Nepal which conducts various fire awareness and safety procedure method in community level. On addition, we also carry various fire awareness programs in various school, colleges and airlines and teach them how to operate and uses of portable extinguisher and publish magazine related to fire.

What has your profession taught you?

To be precise; Handle the situation leadership quality tackle and face various environment scenarios.

Do you motivate young generation to pursue this profession?

I would certainly encourage them to follow their career in ARFF, though it has lots of challenges and risk but having said that, it carries a huge respect and self pride. ARFF is the most respectful job around the globe; 2 minutes not exceeding 3 minutes is the response time to act upon aircraft crash site, so one can figure out the quick response one has to build during emergency break.

You must be physically as well as mentally stronger, since your profession is a war against fire and has huge responsibility to rescue people from death.

How you feel when you get an emergency call?

We never want to get any emergency call as we never wish people to face such traumatizing experience of life and death but if in case dont worry we will be there to risk our life to save yours.

What would you like to say about AviationNepal?

Personally, I love this innovate move developed by AviationNepal Team, it has created a bridge between Nepal’s aviation to general people and born an aviation love amongst the people. And I would like to thank AviationNepal for acknowledging us, and putting our work in limelight. Best wishes and grow further.

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