Bern Airport Fire Brigade


Flughafen Bern AG
Michael Gerber, Kommandant
Flugplatzstrasse 31
CH-3123 Belp


Telephone+41 31 960 21 11
Fax+41 31 960 22 54

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), every airport is required to operate a fire brigade. ICAO specifies the number of personnel and vehicles and the quantities of extinguishing materials required, the reaction times to be observed and the level of training necessary.

The various categories are seen in the ICAO table, ranging from Category 1 to Category 10. The aircraft length and fuselage diameter define the category on the ICAO scale.

During operating hours, Bern-Belp Airport guarantees categories 4 to 6. The Airport Fire Brigade’s resources, however, are sufficient to cover categories 7 and 8 as well.

During operating hours, the Airport Fire Brigade secures initial response for aircraft and infrastructure in the airport sector. Responsibilities include: Firefighting, personal rescue, aircraft recovery and oil spill response. Minimal community support can also be provided (2 Airport Fire Brigade personnel with one universal fire tender).

For larger incidents, the Fire Brigades from Bern, Belp and Kehrsatz are mobilised to provide support or to take over the incident, as flight operations cannot take place as long as the Airport Fire Brigade is deployed.

ICAO - table

ICAO - Tabelle
When an alarm is raised, it must be possible for firefighting personnel and equipment with at least 50% of the required extinguishing material to be in action at the furthest point on the runway within 3 minutes!



The Airport Fire Brigade is subordinate to two supervisory authorities: FOCA (Federal Office of Civil Aviation) and the GVB (Bern Buildings Insurance). This means that every member of the Airport Fire Brigade is required to complete at least the following exercises:

  • 10 exercises @ 2.5 hrs each with respiratory equipment exercises, GVB
  • 6 respiratory equipment exercises @ 2.5 hrs each, GVB and FOCA
  • 4 squad exercises

Due to shift work each excercise must be performed 3x (cadres excercise 2x ). In addition every thusday and sunday all emergency vehicles must be driven and all equipment must be checked.

Training in Riedbach



An emergency exercise must be completed with a partner organisation (police, paramedics, fire brigade, crisis squad, etc.) every 2 years.



Every member of the Airport Fire Brigade (MAFB) completes an internal training programme. Furthermore, basic training, respiratory equipment training, specialist training and squad training must be completed in line with the current Swiss fire brigade training norms at Bern Buildings Insurance (GVB). Wherever possible, every MAFB receives further training from specialist instructors at a training centre for aircraft firefighting.

MAFB internal basic training
(aircraft specific)
5 days - fire chief
- training officer
MAFB basic training 2 days GVB instructor
MAFB respiratory equipment training 3 days GVB instructor
MAFB BLS / AED training 1 day paramedic instructor
MAFB training in training centre 2-5 days special instructors
Group leader I group leader training I 4 days GVB instructor
Group leader II group leader training II 3 days GVB instructor


shift squad leader
group leader training I
internal squad leader I with specific specialist knowledge
5 days
4 days
GVB instructor
fire chief


fire chief
deputy fire chief
squad leader I + II
various continuing education courses and seminars
10 days
various days
GVB inspector
special instructors

All MAFBs are in possession of a C/C1 118 ID (fire brigade vehicles up to 40 t.)