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Read the Draft, here.

HAC’s Operator-members were invited by CIFFC to comment on the draft. Set out below is a consolidated summary of the concerns that were raised by HAC members.

  1. Some concerns were raised relating to the cost of hiring crews – which are increasing, owing to limited availability. Even foreign crews will be potentially faced with 14-day quarantines in Canada (at an additional cost), which could aggravate the shortage, and place new cost pressures on operators;
  2. Operators raised concerns over the additional time commitments that will be placed on flight and maintenance crews to disinfect, in addition to potentially long days flying, pre-flight, and post-flight duties. We would like to suggest that some financial assistance and cleaning supplies and manpower be made available to crews for this additional time-consuming function. There may be scenarios where cleaning materials are in short supply or simply not available;
  3. Some operators indicated that “…places (accommodations, eating areas, grocery stores, etc.) with strict COVID-19 procedures should be considered” may be in short supply or non-existent in some locations. Given the essential nature of the services that are being provided, “where available” should be inserted in this bulleted point;
  4. We suggest that if disinfected or individually-owned headsets are not available – if communication is not required, that earplugs be used. Some air operators have indicated that they may not make headsets available in the rear seats, except on-request;
  5. Fire crews should be pre-screened every day in the morning. The pilot may not be in a position to pre-screen each crew they pick up, with the aircraft running, toe-in, etc. This could aid in early detection and potentially avoid a pilot denying boarding to a firefighter who is exhibiting symptoms during the day.  The guidelines should contemplate the procedures to extract a firefighter exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms;
  6. Hand sanitizer should be made available to individual crews by Forestry for use prior to each boarding during the day. Sanitizer may be in short supply, and there may not be a convenient location or supply in the aircraft;
  7. It has been suggested that no crew should sit in the front with the pilot unless necessary. If necessary, then a mask should be worn.
  8. Smoke patrols may present added risk;
  9. Availability of eating locations (restaurants) and hotels is certain to get worse as the season progresses. Some are already closing. The planned use of RV’s could aid in social isolating, and isolated meal preparation;
  10. Some have suggested that there should be separate accommodations, kitchens, washrooms for flight crews.