Grassfire prompts regulation change at OR Tambo Airport

A grass fire at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg has prompted Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) to implement a number of safety and security measurements to better prevent the outbreak and spread of grass fires in and around the airport grounds.

Despite an investigation not being able to identify the cause of the fire back in September, the ASCA identified that a small grass fire combined with changing wind direction led to sparks and increased heat-flow headed toward a number of non-operational aircrafts, which in turn led to larger fires at the facility.

Ekurhuleni Emergency Services were delayed, meanwhile, as they had to attend to another emergency, ultimately, the team managed to catch up and get the situation under control, but only after the damage was done. Luckily, no serious injuries were sustained, and neither were there any flight delays or cancellations due to the fire.

The new safety operations that the ACSA is looking to implement involve enhanced call-out and response processes to ensure a swift reaction should grass fires occur in the arid landscape surrounding the OR Tambo Airport.

The ACSA also called for enhanced protection of areas holding non-operational aircraft and machinery, due to the increased risk of fires and explosions taking place around these vehicles.

Last but not least, the ACSA is also looking for increased fencing, physical security and operational security around the airport to be improved.

The combination of all of these will lead to better scenarios and ensure no slowdowns for the future of OR Tambo Airport.

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