The OSHKOSH Global Striker is the name of the specialized rescue and firefighting vehicle which is used by the National Airports Corporation’s Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Team at Tokua Airport in East New Britain Province.
The OSHKOSH is fitted with all essential elements that will enable quick response, rescue and firefighting capabilities during any emergencies at the airport.
At Tokua Airport, 26-year old Ruth Tenanga, who is the only female in a Team of 10 Aviation Rescue Fire Fighters, is tasked to operate this specialized vehicle.
That would make Miss Tenanga the first Papua New Guinean female to operate an aviation fire fighting vehicle in the country.
The other airports who have these specialized aviation fire fighting vehicles are operated by her male colleagues.
“To be honest, I never thought I’d end up as a Tender Operator (Aviation Fire Truck Operator) but when the opportunity came, I took it and became part of the ARFF Team,” Ruth recalls.
She added: “NAC have mentored and trained me to be who I am today and I am thankful to the ARFF trainers for their tireless efforts, dedication and commitment.”
Ruth believes that stepping into this new area particularly one that is male dominated, had a positive impact on her growth and has been motivating, inspiring and empowering.
“As long as there is respect, having an opening mind, trust and teamwork, there is a team regardless of gender,” Miss Tenanga explained.
The job of a tender operator role requires stamina, top coordination skills, excellent physical fitness and mental toughness among others and Ruth has been the perfect fit says George Kalago who is the Tokua Airport Fire Chief and also Ruth’s immediate supervisor and mentor.
“I’ve known Ruth since she was recruited in July 2019. She is a brilliant lady and she is very brave in performing the drills and has been involved in two emergency turnouts as an operator for Rescue1 (Global Striker) here in Tokua of which she’s performed exceptionally well.” Said Kalago.
“Since here recruitment, Miss Tenanga has undergone in-house trainings of Basic Firemanship, Topography, Radio and Fire Control Centre Procedure, Aircraft Familiarization, Fire Vehicle Operation and Pump Operation Trainings and is competent in her job,” Mr Kalago added.
As the aviation fire fighter and tender operator, Miss Tenanga’s work involves:
• In the event of an emergency, conducting rescue & firefighting operation to passengers involved in aircraft incidents and accidents.
• Providing Firefighting service to aircrafts and buildings within the airport aerodrome.
• Giving technical advice on firefighting & fire precaution in the airport as well as providing first aid
• Transporting ARFF personnel & firefighting equipment to a scene of an accident and
• Operating and conducting firefighting using its pump operation to establish a conducive environment for rescue and evacuation to be mounted.
Ruth’s advice to young women who may wish to take up the role in male dominated environment is to never let fear stop them from achieving their goals or their dream job. “Go for the job you desire regardless of the gender.” She said.
NAC encourages equal opportunities in its workforce and the support provided to Ruth reflects the organization’s commitment to encourage and promote equal and merit-based opportunities in its workforce which is aligned to the broader efforts by the Government in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.