In a bid to enhance capabilities to handle emergency situations like aircraft accidents inside an airport, in a more efficient and coordinated manner, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has commissioned a ‘Mobile Command Post (MCP) for the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport in Kolkata.

The Kolkata airport authorities today informed that the MCP is a customised, fully equipped vehicle which is outfitted with specialised equipment to serve as an “on-scene” command, and as a coordination and communication centre for airport emergencies. It is learnt that the command post will serve as a decision making centre where the heads and representatives of the coordinating agencies will assemble to receive and disseminate information, and subsequently make decisions relevant to the emergency operations such as in aircraft crashes inside the airport.

Commenting on the functions of the Mobile Command Post, a Kolkata airport official explained the MCP will serve as a point where liaison officers of the various cooperating agencies assemble to plan and coordinate the rescue operations. It will be used for establishing a staging area for all ground service equipment such as tow tractors, coaches etc. Further, it will establish an “Assembly area” for the uninjured survivors of a flight accident.

It will be used to secure/provide any assistance required by doctors at the “Triage Area” and arrange speedy evacuation of injured casualty cases in hospital. The MCP will also liaise with the airline concerned to transport the uninjured casualties to the Survivors Reception Centre (SRC) and establish communication with Crisis Management Centre (CMC) and Airport Operation Control Centre (AOCC).

The Kolkata airport official pointed out that Airport Rescue and Fire-fighting Team Services is responsible for the deployment of the MCP as quickly as possible at a distance of not less than 90 metres upwind from the aircraft accident site.

The official explained that the MCP vehicle comprise a compartment from where facilities are mounted for use on the emergency site as and when required for rescue operations or in “unlawful situations”. The official, describing the utilities of the mobile command post, said it has a space where a round table conference can be held and it can accommodate eight persons. The space is equipped with a digital board and a projector. The facility has a generator to provide electricity back-up for four hours.

It was further learnt that the MCP has a pan-tilt zoom camera (PTZ) of 500 meters of clear visibility that is extendable to one kilometre and the footage can be seen inside the compartment on LED monitor. For inside cabin, one dome camera has also been provided. A utility power supply has been installed for extra two hours back-up. The official pointed out that four sets of noematic mast lights (250 Watt each set) are provided along with a very high frequency(VHF) sets to monitor Air Traffic Control (ATC) frequency and for proper illumination of the emergency site.

Apart from these vital equipment that will aid the team to respond to the emergency more efficiently, a walkie-talkie, a public address system with a cordless mike with Bluetooth connectivity were made available along with a megaphone. Further, to support the rescue team, night vision binoculars of 120 metre range, four foldable stretchers, 10 signboards and two tents were made available to the mobile command post. Three portable shelter tanks were provided.