In September this year, the International Fire Training Centre (IFTC) celebrates 40 years of delivering specialist fire training to firefighters from the UK and overseas at its fireground on Teesside.
The IFTC opened in 1981 when the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) relocated its fire school from Stansted Airport to Teesside Airport. The IFTC, which won the Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2017, trains civilian and military firefighters from as far afield as Tahiti and regularly hosts clients from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
The IFTC was acquired from the CAA by Serco in 1996. Today, the business employs over 70 people and operates an extensive range of training infrastructure on its 19 acre fireground.
Commenting on the anniversary, Gary Watson, Serco’s Business Operations Director at the IFTC, said: “Thankfully, airport firefighters do not have to respond to a full blown aviation incident too often so training to respond assumes a greater importance. By building their skills on our 25 incident simulators with the right kind of fires, trucks and extinguishing media the firefighters can really stretch their legs so that they will be ready to respond effectively when they need to.”
Aviation Curriculum Manager, Ricky Wilson, added, “It’s a real privilege to work with a business that has been supporting emergency response teams for forty years. Over that time, the students who trained here have protected lives and critical infrastructure around the world. It’s a great experience for the IFTC team to work with firefighters who have a real vocation to serve their communities in the UK and abroad”.
With fire training courses lasting up to twelve weeks, IFTC accommodates UK and international students at its own residential centre. Local businesses benefit from the thousands of firefighters attending IFTC each year as they make the most of their stay in the north east of England.
Over the past four decades, IFTC has widened its engagement with fire services to work with offshore first responders who need to tackle fires on oil rigs, industrial firefighters who face specialist risks on their plants and mariners who would be responsible for fighting a fire while at sea.