Hong Kong fire services department unveils HK$200 million training simulators

Facilities include aircraft, vessel and railway station simulators to prepare trainees for real-life scenarios

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 10:48pm

An aircraft on fire, a ship in trouble, even a rail station and tunnel in need of evacuation – the Fire Services Department has revealed three new simulators to meet training needs for real-life scenarios.

The HK$200 million training facilities were recently put in use at the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O.

Ngai Tak-yung, the commandant of the academy, said all newly recruited fire services personnel had to undergo exercises in these hot fire training simulators, which had been configured to the actual size of the locations being simulated.

He added that the department also provided immersion training programmes for existing staff.

“The professional designs [of the simulators] took into consideration all possible scenarios and how our actual gear could handle the daily situations in Hong Kong,” Ngai said.

The fully bespoke aircraft, 56 metres long and 34 metres wide, was designed to simulate different plane models. The front section resembles a three-level airbus A380, whereas the rear part was built as a double-deck Boeing 767.

Wing engines come in both A380 and B767 models, while the tail engines match those of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11.

The facility can be used to simulate 12 aircraft fire points, including a fuel spill fire and blazes in the passenger compartment, fuselage and auxiliary power unit.

The department said the designs allowed trainees to practise operational procedures on different plane models and to enhance their response when handling multi-casualty incidents.

“Planes are often fully loaded with fuel and passengers, requiring special rescue operations,” Ngai said.

To provide a realistic simulation of large-scale railway incidents and train fires, the department received a real train from the MTR Corporation and tailor-made a 100 metre trackway.

It also built a special MTR station – Pak Shing Kok station – where the academy is located. The 1,050 square metre station is located between Lohas Park and Tseung Kwan O, but is used only for training purposes.

Trainees could learn to put out overhead transformer fires and blazes in the driver’s cab or control panel.

The vessel fire simulator was constructed with four decks, with the two lowest decks simulating a cargo vessel and the other two resembling a cruise liner.

It could reproduce fires in the passenger compartment, engine room and heated oil piping.

Ngai declined to comment on the durability of the machines but said the training rigs were made of iron, which was very heat resistant.

He added that several other government departments had contacted the fire services authority and that it was possible to hold a large-scale inter-departmental exercise at the academy.