On Alert with Red Watch

Martyn Cartledge spends a day with Manchester Airport Fire and Rescue Service’s Red Watch, finding out what really happens behind the big red doors.

Manchester Airport Fire and Rescue’s £2.6m, 268 tonne 747/767/ MD11 dual-fuelled airport rescue and firefighting training simulator is located on the south side of Runway 23L. All images author
Poised and ready for every eventuality, the lives of people on the ground and in the air are in the hands of the highly motivated and welltrained firefighters of the Manchester Airport Fire and Rescue Service.

Would you like to do a job that you train hard for, is both mentally and physically demanding, but you hope you will never have to put into practice? Well, that’s the life of an airport firefighter. However, there is a great deal more to becoming part of the team than you might initially assume and, as one member of Red Watch succinctly put it: “It’s rare that we get a shout that involves squirting water at aeroplanes; that’s just a small part of why we are here.”

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