Guide for Building, Maintaining, and Improving ARFF Programs and Training Facilities

Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) services are crucial and required for the safe operation of Part 139 certificated airports. Many ARFF departments depend on the passing of knowledge and experience from leader to leader or firefighter to firefighter. Federal Aviation Regulations and guidance do not specifically address developing a program, focusing more on operating procedures, training requirements, and equipment requirements. ARFF training requires access to specialized facilities and equipment for meeting regulatory requirements. In order to address these needs, a number of facilities and companies have been developed. Private operators provide facilities and mobile equipment, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have funded several regional training centers. The equipment and training centers are inherently complicated and expensive to build, operate, and maintain. Many of these facilities were closed as costs outweighed revenue and FAA funding for upkeep was difficult to obtain. Additionally, environmental issues, including concerns with aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have forced even more training centers to close and/or restrict the type of training they can provide. Due to these shortages, many ARFF departments must travel long distances to complete training. ARFF departments not only have to pay for the cost of the training facilities and/or equipment but must cover the cost of employee wages, travel, and additional cost to ensure adequate staffing at the airport. Finally, with the shrinking number of training facilities, there is a real concern that the closure of any of the remaining facilities could cause a training crisis for the industry. The objectives of this research are to: (1) Develop a guide for establishing, improving, and/or maintaining an operational-ready ARFF program that meets regulatory requirements and a WebResource that provides an overview of ARFF response and recommended training resources for mutual aid providers and municipal fire departments. Ensure that the guide and WebResource are complementary. The guide must, at a minimum, (a) address airport requirements for all ARFF indexes including index-specific guidance, and (b) include an executive summary for airport executives and leadership, including an overview of ARFF regulatory requirements. The guide and WebResource, where appropriate, should address the following topics, at a minimum: airport ownership models, ARFF department organizational structures, ARFF department leadership development, ARFF department costs and budget requirements, staffing including continuity of operations planning, identifying and training non-ARFF resources and mutual aid providers including a minimum level of training and resources, ARFF equipment including maintenance and testing, ARFF facilities, draft training programs including initial and recurrent training, record keeping and meeting regulatory inspection requirements (include templates that meet regulatory requirements), and future ARFF response considerations due to new entrants to aviation and additional research recommendations. (2) Inventory and assess current ARFF training facilities and capabilities, including mobile training operators, and identifies future needs and requirements to train and maintain the national ARFF workforce that meets or exceeds regulatory requirements. Additionally, develop and document best practices for planning, approving, building, operating, maintaining, funding, managing environmental issues, and decommissioning ARFF training facilities. Ensure, at a minimum, there is: a discussion on training techniques for using different types of approved foam and extinguishing agents, a review of international facility design, and a needs analysis for future ARFF training facilities that consider ARFF department training budgets and needs.  


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $500000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 04-34

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Griffin, Matthew

  • Start Date: 20230221
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01854716
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 04-34
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 16 2022 2:21PM