Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF)

Aviation is a subject that can easily evoke passion and interest. This is why there have always been people who are passionate about this endeavor. While you may know about pilots and other flight personnel, there is also many other people who work to make flights safe and effective. Aircraft rescue and firefighting services, or ARFF in short, is a necessary part of aviation. Since it requires a somewhat different approach compared to regular firefighting, ARFF is a separate field. Here on this blog post we are going to examine aircraft rescue and firefighting and learn about ARFF firefighters in detail.

What is Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Services?

Even though safety measures that we take today largely decrease the likelihood of accidents in aviation, it is still a risky field. Because regardless of the condition of the aircraft or the experience of the aviator, there may always be accidents before, during or after a flight has taken place. As an aircraft can be carrying hundreds of people at any given time, accidents may cause lots of casualties. Aircraft rescue and firefighting deals with the emergency response to such accidents. In case of an accident, ARFF rescues the passengers and the crew. Also ARFF mitigates accidents in various ways.

What Do ARFF Firefighters Do?

Although aviation is an interesting field that gets the attention of many individuals, it is also a field that can be quite risky for everyone involved. Due to many different reasons, there may be accidents in aviation. What ARFF firefighters do is basically, they try to lessen the damage caused by such accidents. Firstly, they are supposed to reach at the accident site in as soon time as possible, securing the dangers around the area. In case of a fire going on, ARFF firefighters use firefighting equipment to extinguish it. Then, if necessary they perform rescue operations in order to save people who are stuck in the aircraft. All in all, ARFF firefighters work to reduce the damage that aviation accidents cause.

What Kind of Equipment do ARFF Personnel Use?

ARFF firefighters use specialized fire vehicles that are of the appropriate speed, water-carrying capacity, off-road performance and agent discharge rates. Also protective equipment is another necessity in aircraft rescue and firefighting since it is necessary for firefighters to protect themselves from the risks of exposure to extreme heat.

Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF)
source: Airservices Australia

Why Do Airports Have Their Own Firefighters?

You may be wondering why aircraft rescue and firefighting services are necessary and why there is a need for specialized firefighters in aviation. There are many reasons for this. Simply put, aviation accidents and rescue operations as well as fires that may start in these accidents may require a different approach. Along with this, getting to the accident site and starting the operations as soon as possible is important. Therefore, ARFF personnel is needed in aviation.

Training of ARFF Personnel

Becoming an AARF firefighter requires extensive training. Firstly, airport and aircraft familiarization are a part of this training. Also, training on rescue and firefighting operations are another important part of the training of ARFF personnel. Moreover, ARFF personnel is also trained on the usage of their equipment such as fire hoses, nozzles, turrets and so on.

Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF)
Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF)


Anon. (n.d.), Aircraft rescue and firefighting, Wikipedia, Retrieved 18 February 2022

< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_rescue_and_firefighting >

SKYbrary Editor (n.d.), Rescue and Fire Fighting Services, SKYbrary, Retrieved 18 February 2022

< https://skybrary.aero/articles/rescue-and-fire-fighting-services >