FIVE of the nine new Airport Police and Fire Service (APFS) recruits at Shannon Airport are from Co Clare.

Mike Cotter (Kilkishen), Paul Finnin (Sixmilebridge), Tadhg Kelly (Labasheeda), Alan O’Dea (Kilkishen) and James Crosse (Ennistymon) had their passing out ceremony on Monday in front of their family and loved ones at the Shannon Airport Fire Station on Monday morning.

Laurence Power (Caherdavin), Chris Kelliher (Abbeyfeale) and fellow Limerick men Mark Kirwan and Colm Maher also join the team. The APFS recruits began their training in January and underwent a three-month intensive training programme which now equips them to work in the combined role of airport police and fire personnel at Shannon Airport.

Part of the specialist training programme has taught the fire service graduates how to battle Jet A1 aviation fuel fires which can reach up to 1000 degrees Celsius. While their response time to an incident must be under three minutes.

Congratulating the new APFS graduates and presenting them with medals of achievement, Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group said, “They are joining a service with a great history and tradition. One that is professional in how they deal with the day-to-day airport activities and problems that present to them, while also being empathetic and helpful to passengers, public and staff alike. Already the class of ‘22 have formed a fantastic rapport, having recently raised over €3,000 after climbing Croagh Patrick, in aid of Milford Hospice. We are very proud of them and delighted to welcome them to the Shannon Airport family”.

Pat O’Brien, Chief Officer Fire & Rescue, Airport Police Fire Service, Shannon Airport stated, “All nine recruits have shown their dedication throughout their training as Airport Police and Fire Service members. Through the selection process they have proved themselves to be capable of working well in challenging environments, and with people who may be in distress. We are also thrilled to have, not only one, but two members of Shannon Airport Police and Fire Service celebrating the passing out of their sons today. Our recruits come from a variety of backgrounds like the defence forces, the hospitality sector, local authority fire service, graduate straight out of secondary school, a tradesman and one of our airport screening personnel”.

Recruits to the Airport Police and Fire Service have been trained in manual handling, communications, including signals and words of command, the chemistry of fire, hose running, hydraulics and teamwork. Being put through their paces, the recruits also undertook intensive ladder drills and breathing apparatus training enabling them to work at heights and in areas with toxic atmospheres.

Recruits were also trained in using Shannon Airport’s state-of-the-art High Rach Extendable Turret (HRET) fire tenders which can hold up to 11,500 litres of water. The airport was the first in Ireland to take the delivery of two HRET tenders in 2019.

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