70 years of fire trucks
This month, instead of extinguishing 70 candles, the Schiphol fire brigade gets to blow them out instead! Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is almost 103 years old, so does that mean there was no fire brigade for over 30 years? Certainly not. In the early years, any fires involving army planes were extinguished with sand. Once civil aviation came to the airport, the employees of KLM and the municipality of Amsterdam responded when required. The Order & Safety Corps took over the firefighting tasks in February 1949, marking the birth of Schiphol’s fire brigade.
Over the years, our firefighters have driven many different fire engines. Let us transport you back to the fire brigade as it was in those days! After Schiphol’s fire service was launched, the firefighting equipment, which dated back to the war, was slowly replaced with modern vehicles. The firefighters were very proud of that! In 1958, they were all too happy to pose in front of their vehicles with colleagues from the police and medical services:
In the years that followed, it was not only the fire brigade that grew, as aircraft also became bigger. In the early 1970s, there were rumours that jet aircraft would be introduced that could carry as many as 300 passengers (which seemed inconceivable at the time). It was the advent of the jumbo jets! This meant new regulations were necessary. To satisfy the future requirements, the fire brigade got its own jumbos, although these ones were on wheels:
Strike a pose
The fire brigade continued to develop, just like the aviation sector. In the early '90s, it was time for another nice pose, not by the firefighters, but by their vehicles this time:
What about now?
You can imagine that fire engines look very different these days. Most contemporary fire engines have over 12,000 litres of water on board, along with 750 litres of foam and 225 kilos of powder. By way of comparison, post-war fire engines ‘only’ had a tank capacity of 2,500 litres.
State of the art
To continue to ensure an effective response in the future, Schiphol recently ordered thirteen new crash tenders. The first tender is currently being tested by the firefighters. These new crash tenders will replace the current vehicles, which have reached the end of their service life after being in use since 2001. The new crash tenders spray water further than any other fire engines: 80 to 90 metres using the cannon on the roof. They weigh over 48,000 kilograms and are 13 metres long and 3.20 metres wide. The vehicles can accelerate from 0 km to 80 km/h in 23 seconds. This makes them the largest and fastest fire engines in the Netherlands, capable of reaching any runway within three minutes.