Firefighters are one of the many important heroes of our society. They never hesitate to risk their lives to protect our loved ones, buildings, animals, and much more. When it comes to aircraft and airport fires, the firefighters that serve to protect our livelihood and belongings are the same in their dedication to others. Their differences, however, lie in their training, equipment, and procedures for how they implement fire safety. In this blog, we will discuss how firefighters work to protect the aviation world.
Within aviation, the division that helps uphold fire safety is called Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting, or ARFF for short. This is actually a unique form of firefighting that entails the response, mitigation of hazards, and rescue of passengers and crew as needed for any ground emergency at an airport. AARF stations are stationed at an airport for rapid response time, and multiple may be present depending on the aerodrome size. In the United States, AARF is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and are annually inspected for their compliance to set standards. To further this, personnel are heavily trained to use specific equipment, firefighting methods for aircraft, and must have explicit knowledge of the airport they serve and the types of aircraft they may encounter.
Speed is of utmost importance when responding to any emergency, and these times often range from three to four minutes so as to give support as soon as possible. Modern aircraft firefighting vehicles may contain long range extinguishing agent nozzles to fight a fire as they approach, and spikes on nozzles allow firefighters to pierce the fuselage and fight the fire as to prevent flashover. From advanced equipment to heavy training, airport firefighters are very capable to extinguish fires caused by aviation fuel, rescue passengers and crew, and provide medical care. Nevertheless, fires are very rare, and in times of emergencies, these firefighters often serve as loaders and security guards who remain at the ready to serve and protect those around them.
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