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Airport Fire services and staffing levels

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  • Airport Fire services and staffing levels

    Hello Brothers & Sisters,
    I am looking for dependable information on staffing at Airports. It seems that Airports run by Cities and Counties and staffed better than Airports run by themselves. Also why can't Airports change the law for Passenger facility Charge to help offset the costs for Public safety at Airports. You each spend three dollars each way as a tax but the Airports use it for waterfalls and parking garages instead, why don't we change the law so maybe 20-25% of those funds are directed towards fire Public safety where it can do some good. When was the last time you were rescued by a water feature?
    Thank you and have a good day

  • #2
    Doesn't the FAA have standards for ARFF apparatus and crews depending on the size of the facility, number of flights handled and the size of the aircraft they handle? I was under the impression that most airports that are large enough to have an airport fire department were run by cities and counties or other government agencies, like Massport and the NY/NJ Port Authority.

    Your on screen name is FiredLt. Did you lose your position in your Department?

    If you need information about airport fire departments, try this website


    Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo


    • #3
      I would have to agree with the captain here. I believe the FAA has guidelines that must be followed. I am just a few minutes away from the Northern Kentucky & Greater Cincinnati airport. They are looking at adding another runway. From what i have heard, the FAA requires them to be able to reach all runways within 3 minutes. The new proposed runway will put them at like 4 minutes from the firehouse. Therefore, for the new runway to be bulit they must build a second firehouse that is closer, and to staff this firehouse, new peeople must be hired. I think the FAA has information that would be helpful to you.

      Anything I post in the forums is my opinion and does not reflect my department or any organization I belong to.


      • #4
        Problem with the FAA requirements is that they don't care how many people you have, as long as you get the proper amount of agent to the site of the crash. If you look into the changes at Little Rock after their crash, it makes it obvious that the only time you will increase manpower is AFTER a significant crash at an airport.

        Besides, how often is the an actual crash at an airport. I am told that Canada is/has pretty much eliminated protection at airports, and depends on outside agencies to respond. Does anyone have more info on this?


        • #5
          The FAA does have requirements based on amount of agent delivered. Montgomery, ALA airport's FD is funded through the state military department and run through the Air National Guard. When the military aircraft are flying (F-16s) there has to be at least 8 ff on duty; when no military aircraft flying, only required to have three on duty. So when the 737 or MD-80 has a problem with lots of folks on board, only two people availible for rescue until city fd show up mutual aid.


          • #6
            I am a former Airport Fire Chief in Eau Claire, WI at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

            Yes, the FAA has very specific regulations regarding staffing as well as equipment and equipment capabilities depending on the amount of traffic arriving and departing your airport. In FAR 139(Federal Aviation Regulation) each airport that has commercial passenger traffic is giving a letter designation based on the amount of traffic. These designations are Class A, B, C, or D. A class A airport for example would be say LAX or Ohare. A Class D airport would be your small town airport with commuter traffic. Eau Claire, WI is a Class C airport.

            FAR 139 explains the classifications of each airport. You take the largest passenger capacity aircraft and the average scheduled daily departures and arrivals of that aircraft to get the airport classification. For example, Eau Claire, WI has a largest scheduled aircraft of a SAAB-340. This is a 34 passenger aircraft. It is scheduled to arrive and depart daily approx. 8-15 times daily. This would give Eau Claire a Class C designation. Occasionally we would take in a 737 or a 727 but they are not "regularly scheduled" or have enough "daily arrivals and departures." Each classification is required to have a minimum of staffing, equipment, and delivery capabilities as well.

            The FAA website has the regulations for you to look through. Also what helped me greatly while I was Chief was the ARFF Working Group website. You can email me anytime with questions as well if you wish at [email protected]col.net

            Hope this helps a little. Stay safe and keep your powder dry!
            Lt. Jason Knecht
            Altoona Fire Dept.
            Altoona, WI


            • #7
              Not to diss the Chief, but the FAA regulations DO NOT mention anything about staffing. They only specify the different amounts of agent to get to the scene, and the different distribution on various numbers of apparatus. The only information concerning staffing is implied, and the minimum would be however many people are needed to drive the apparatus. No number of personnel is specified for entry, evacuation assistance, or handline operation. See FAR Part 139.319 (j)(5).

              According to the FAA, an Index E airport (the largest) could comply with the regulations with only 3 fire personnel. Makes you glad the FAA doesn't regulate structural departments. If we didn't need to get out of the trucks for those fires, we could really cut back.

              By the way, I don't care what the FAA says about slime green. Fire trucks should be available in any color, so long as it's red.


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