Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF): A Specialized Service


Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) is a specialized category of emergency response that involves the response, hazard mitigation, evacuation and possible rescue of passengers and crew of an aircraft involved in an airport emergency.

Due to the potential for a mass casualty emergency in an aviation emergency, the speed with which response personnel and equipment reach the scene of an emergency is of paramount importance. The timely arrival of resources and the initial mission to secure the aircraft against all hazards, particularly fire, increases the likelihood of a positive outcome for all involved. Airport emergency responders have advanced training in the application of firefighting foams, dry chemicals and clean agents used to extinguish burning aviation fuel when responding.


Airports have regulatory oversight by an arm of their individual national governments or voluntarily under standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates ARFF operations at all U.S. airports that serve scheduled passenger air carriers. These are one of the few civilian fire protection services that are specifically regulated by a governmental entity. Airports required to have ARFF services are inspected at least annually by the FAA for compliance.

Personal protective equipment

Due to the intense heat generated by burning fuels, firefighters wear protective uniforms that are coated with a silvered material to reflect heat away from their bodies, these are called a fire proximity suit. They also must wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to provide a source of air, giving them the ability to work in the presence of smoke or other gases.


Specialized fire apparatus are required for the ARFF function, the design of which is predicated on many factors but primarily these are, speed, water capacity, off-road performance and discharge rates. Since an accident could occur anywhere on or off airport property, sufficient water and other agents must be carried to contain the fire, allowing for the best possibility of extinguishment and maximum possibility for evacuation.

It takes many years of dedication, experience and training to become an ARFF responder. We're always interested in anything that helps you in improving your capabilities. Being able to track your qualifications and experience is one of the reasons [D4H]™ Personnel & Training was created.

Robert Charles

[D4H] Technologies

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