Fire department response to aircraft emergencies

Video shows home engulfed in fire after being struck by a Cessna aircraft

We tend to relate responding to aircraft emergencies with an airport where there are many planes in one area, but the fact is that every fire department may be called to an aircraft incident, regardless of whether there is a major airport nearby. After all, there are numerous airplanes off all types and sizes flying through the skies at any given moment, and the possibility of one of them crashing into your response area is very real.

If this does happen, how prepared is your fire department in handling aircraft incidents? Are your members trained in aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF)?

ARFF is a specialized form of firefighting and the apparatus involved are typically larger than those used in a municipal setting, with larger foam operations and larger water supply operations. Additionally, the aircraft poses a variety of hazards, particularly a higher fire load content involving jet fuel, and, depending on the size of the aircraft, crews may be facing a mass-casualty incident. Clearly, there’s a lot of factors at play at an incident involved a downed aircraft.

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