Fire Service


Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 16:31

By Marsha Heller, KFVS:

A Williamson County Fire Protection District firefighter was injured while battling a house fire on Tuesday, May 28.

Fire crews were called out around 9:56 a.m. to a house fire on Harmony Church Rd.

This was near the Williamson-Franklin County line in the West Frankfort, Illinois area.

When crews arrived they found a single-story home engulfed in flames with the roof starting to collapse.

According to WCFPD Chief Jeremy Norris, one of his firefighters was injured after a welding tank inside the garage of the home exploded. The force of the explosion caused the injuries.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Robust Physical Fitness and Sharp Mental Alertness. Key Attributes of ARFF Crews to Ensure Passenger Safety at Aerodromes

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 11:39

Robust Physical Fitness and Sharp Mental Alertness

Key Attributes of ARFF Crews to Ensure Passenger Safety at Aerodromes

By: Gp Capt. ER Rajappan (Retd)

 ICAO Annex 14 Chapter 9.2 stipulates Standards and Recommended Practices for Rescue and firefighting. As per ICAO document, “The principal objective of a rescue and firefighting service is to save lives in the event of an aircraft accident or incident occurring at, or in the immediate vicinity of an aerodrome”[1].  The most important factors bearing on effective rescue in a survivable aircraft accident are; the training received effectiveness of the equipment and the speed with which personnel and equipment designated for rescue and firefighting purposes can be put into use. The operational objective of the rescue and firefighting service should be to achieve a response time not exceeding two minutes to any point of each operational runway, in optimum visibility and surface condition.  However, Annex 14 is silent on the standards of Physical, Medical and Mental Fitness required for ARFF crews and it is left to contracting states to evolve its own standards and the policy on how to maintain the physical fitness through regular physical and mental fitness programs and their periodic evaluation.

Physical characteristics; such as height & weight, reach & strength, visual & hearing acuity may limit performance of highly a strenuous job such as aircraft fire fighting and rescue. Fortunately, these innate body characteristics remain relatively static overtime and individuals learn to

cope with the physical workout to offset the physical limitations and remain fit and robust. However, the minimum physical standards should be set by each country depending up on the race and average physical standards of the citizens of each nation which should be applied in personnel selection and during physical examinations[2].

When the alarm sounds indicating an aircraft accident or incident and aircraft rescue fire fighters (ARFF) are called to duty, they will draw all the skills they have learned through training and experience to save lives and to protect property. The skill of the ARFF crews alone is not sufficient for safe and fast rescuing of passengers for which they have to depend on their physical and mental strength. It is very much possible that an ARFF crew will work an entire career without having to respond to an aircraft accident involving mass casualty.

It is for this reason that airport fire fighters will have to rely on their physical fitness and training to prepare them for full spectrum aircraft emergencies, as more than half of the aircraft accidents take place on and in the vicinity of the airport.

In the history of civil aviation, there have been 1102 accidents/incidents with the first accident on 02 Aug 1919 in which a Caproni Ca.48 crashed  at Verona, Italy, during a flight from Venice to Taliedo, Milan, killing all 15 on board and the latest fatal accident which took place on January 16th 2017 involving the Turkish Airlines Flight 6491, a Boeing 747-400F, crashed  into a residential area upon attempting landing in thick fog in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan killing four crew members and 35 people on the ground.[3] .

With the increasing integration of safety into all systems of passenger planes, commercial aviation has become a relatively safe mode of transport, yet aviation accidents continue unabated and has recorded a significant increase in the last 15 years, with the average number of accidents in the world soaring to 12 from the late 90s figure of 08.

Irrespective of the efforts to enhance redundancy in the systems, aircraft accidents cannot be ruled out due to; the very nature of the complexity of the aero plane, the medium of operation (air in which various forms turbulent weather occur) and human error either in flying or maintenance of the aero plane.

In the event of a crash, in just a matter of three minutes the temperature in the passenger cabin can reach as high as 2,500F and furthermore, it only takes one minute before the aluminum skin is fully burnt out. Experiments have revealed that a typical   aircraft structure can only withstand an external fire for 30 to 60 seconds. Once the airframe catches fire, it only takes another two to three minutes before the temperature inside the cabin reaches 1,800F. The most significant threats to the cabin from the fire burn through are the intense heat, smoke, smoke obscuration and toxic fumes from the seats and furnishings, which quickly pyrolise and ignite.  The first five to ten minutes following the aircraft accident, is very crucial for the ARFF crews to fight the fire   and rescuing passengers.  This underscores the need for extreme physical fitness and mental alertness of the ARFF crews who would have to draw up on their physical strength and agility to rescue the passengers trapped in the aircraft on fire, many of whom may be seriously injured presenting gruesome scenes to the rescuers.

Challenges to ARFF Crews in 21st Century

ARFF dynamics had already become very complex with the induction of   large passenger aircraft like Airbus 360/Boeing 777 with average passenger capacity of 400 and the challenge became further compounded with the introduction of wide body 2 decker passenger aircraft- Airbus 380 carrying more than 800 passengers.

Soon, Airbus 390 and similar type of aircraft with 1000 passengers will take to the sky adding more woes to the already outstretched ARFF crews physical and mental alertness. While responding to an aircraft accident, ARFF crews spend more energy than the players in a football game. This assertion is supported by many studies that demonstrate the need for and benefits of high physical fitness of the ARFF crews.

Impact of Modern Life Style on ARFF Crews

The life style in 21st century is characterized by Information & Communication Technology and heavy use of smart phone, computer and sedentary life style. Eating high fat content food and lack of regular exercise lead to morbidity.  Addiction to smart phone and laptop takes away much of the time every day, leaving less time for indulgence in physical fitness exercise and mental exercises to cope with stress and mental alertness. While Civil Aviation Administration in many countries have included compulsory programs to maintain physical fitness of the ARFF crews, there is not enough stress on improving the mental alertness.

An ARFF crew’s functions include:

  • Carry out evacuation of people in life-threatening situations using mobile high-performance vehicles and watercraft.
  • Fight fires using a range of equipment, such as hoses, foam branches and monitors.
  • Administer first aid.
  • Protect property endangered by fires and protect the environment (as necessary) in an aircraft accident /incident.
  • Participate in organized drills for fire control and rescue work

In order to undertake these highly demanding tasks, ARFF crew needs to possess high physical fitness and mental alertness.

Physical Fitness Attributes of ARFF Crews

Department of Health and Human Services of USA defines physical fitness as “a set of attributes people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.” The five main components of physical fitness include; body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory endurance.



ARFF crews need to possess high level of physical strength, stamina and long endurance to withstand high level of stress and gruesome scene to perform their functional responsibilities. Optimal fitness is a combination of lifestyle, nutrition, habits and most importantly indulgence in rigorous exercise regimen and mind control exercise such as yoga and meditation. The sudden, intense energy demand that is needed to respond to an aircraft accident is what puts the ARFF crew who is not in good physical condition in grave danger.

The major components of physical fitness of firefighters, their benefits and how they help a firefighter’s body to respond and act in the event of an aircraft accident are four-fold; body composition, cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility and muscular fitness. These physical fitness attributes are discussed in detail in the succeeding paragraphs.

  • Body Composition. Body Composition is the makeup of the body in terms of relative percentages of body fat to fat-free mass (muscle and bone). A minimum amount of body fat is necessary to cushion and protect body organs from injury. These adipose tissues serve the important function of storing and releasing energy in response to metabolic demands. If one’s energy intake from eating exceeds your normal energy for daily activities including exercise, the excess energy is stored as body fat. Storage of excess fat enlarges cell size and can increase the number of fat cells in the body. Attaining a healthy body weight and maintaining it over one’s lifetime should be a goal of every member of the fire fighter.
  • Cardiorespiratory Endurance. Nothing is more important to overall health and fitness than cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

Cardiovascular exercise improves the ability of the lungs to provide oxygen and the heart and vessels to supply blood to the tissues. This type of fitness largely determines fire fighter’s ability to participate in highly strenuous physical activities for extended periods of time. Firefighting is a physically demanding occupation because they have to perform heavy physical labor under extreme physical and environmental conditions. Unlike manual jobs where most of the effort has been engineered out of manual handling tasks, firefighters must respond to an ever-changing set of environmental conditions for extended periods.  The demand for increased amount of oxygen that triggers the increase in heart rate or increase the cardiovascular fitness, a fire fighter must undertake a regular program of regular jogging or aerobic exercise at least for 45 minutes per day. Brisk walking, cycling, stair climbing, rope skipping, swimming, rowing, etc. are other exercises that can improve cardiorespiratory endurance of fire fighters.  Cardiovascular workout also lowers serum cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of potential threat of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, as well as many other ailments of fire fighters.

  • Flexibility and balance are critical factors in achieving peak physical potential, but they are often overlooked. Flexibility, the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion, is extremely important for general fitness and wellness of a fire fighter.

By stretching tight muscles, tendons and ligaments ensure body balance even in high body imbalance positions. Flexibility is very important to firefighters whose work involves strenuous physical activity, restrictive areas, slippery or otherwise unsafe conditions, awkward and/or heavy loads, requirements for rapid movement, etc. Flexibility just doesn’t help firefighters work with less risk of injury but can also contribute to the following:

  • Increased physical efficiency and performance.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Increased neuromuscular coordination.
  • Improved balance and posture.
  • Reduced stress and tension.
  • Personal enjoyment.
  • Muscular Fitness. For the firefighters, good muscular fitness is absolutely essential for rescuing passengers, carrying hose, cutting and spreading tool and ladder heavy equipment to the aircraft on fire. Firefighting and rescue work frequently involve moving body into different positions; therefore, all muscles need to be strong at every position within every fire fighter’s normal range of motion. Muscular fitness encompasses three properties of muscle tissue:

  • Strength– the maximum amount of force a muscle can generate during a single contraction.
  • Power– the rapid generation of force, or the ability to move loads quickly.
  • Endurance– the ability of a muscle to perform repeated contractions for a prolonged period of time.

High demands of aircraft firefighting require a high degree of muscular fitness. Strength training produces new muscle tissue, which will enable the firefighter to generate force to perform job better and safer.

Physical Standards of ARFF Crews

An ARFF crew must rescue passengers ranging from an infant to adults with weight ranging from 60 to 150 kg.  Therefore, various states have different physical and medical standards for ARFF crews, but considering the physical attributes of various races across the world, the following minimum physical and medical standard will meet the functional responsibilities of airport firefighters:

  • Height 165 cm
  • Weight 56 kg
  • Chest normal 81 cm
  • Chest on expansion 86 cm
  • No flat foot, bow knees, knock knee
  • No squinting eyes and stammering
  • Eye sight 6/6

Physical Attributes Test of ARFF Crew

Candidates Physical Aptitude Test (CAPT) is designed to simulate the physical tasks of Fire Fighting. The demands of the CPAT test the candidate’s aerobic and anaerobic capacity, strength, endurance and mobility. A standard CAPT should be competed in 10 minutes 20 seconds and consists of:

  • Stair Climb
  • Hose Drag
  • Equipment Carry
  • Ladder Raise/Extension
  • Forcible Entry
  • Search
  • Rescue
  • Ceiling Breach/Pull

Throughout the test the candidate has to wear a 50-pound weighted vest, simulating the weight of the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (CBSA) and the rest of their protective gear. Descriptions of each section of the CPAT test in more detail are given below.  Though this is a standardized test, testing personnel, equipment, and course layout may differ between testing facilities. The distances between stations and the stations themselves remain unchanged.

  • Section 1: Stair Climb

This section starts with a 20-seconds warm up on the Stair mill.  After the 20-second warm up, 25-pounds of weight is added to the participant’s shoulders. The testing potion            starts when the testing staff says ‘Start’, and    consists walking for 3 minutes on a Stairmill, while wearing an additional 25-pound in addition to the           standard 50-pound weighted vest, at a cadence of 60 steps per minute.

  • Section 2: Horse Drag

Participants drag 200-foot hose line 75 feet and around a barrel, making a 90-degree turn. The participant then continues and additional 25 feet until they come to the Pulling station of the event, at which point they will drop to at least one knee and pull the hose line 50-feet.

  • Section 3: Carrying Equipment

During the Equipment Carry section participants will remove two Power Saws from an equipment shelf, removing them one at a time, and then proceed to carry them 75 feet to a turning point and then back to the starting position. Each saw weighs approximately 25 pounds.

  • Section 4: Ladder Raise & Extension

During this section, participants will raise a 24-foot aluminum extension ladder until it is still against the wall. Participants will then extend a second later by pulling on the rope fly until it has reached full extension, and then lower it back down in a controlled manner.

Section 5: Forcible Entry

Participants use a 10-pound sledgehammer and strike a horizontal target until the buzzer is activated.

  • Section 6: Search

This event requires participants to navigate through a 64-foot tunnel maze (dimensions: approximately 4-ft x 3-ft). The           maze consists of two 90-degree turn and multiple over/under obstacles and some narrow-space crawls.

  • Section 7: Rescue

Participants are required to drag a 165-pound mannequin, grasping the mannequin by handles on the harness, 35-feet and 180-degrees around a barrel. They then drag the mannequin for an additional 35 feet and entirely across the     finish line.

  • Section 8: Ceiling Breach & Pull

Participants will use a pike pole to raise a 60-pound hinged door 3 times and pull down an 80-pound hinged door 5 times. The participant will repeat this sequence for four sets.  Once the participant has completed section 8, they have finished the test and their time is recorded.[4]

Physical Fitness Tests

In order to ensure the physical fitness of the ARFF crews, make them to undergo the following tests yearly/six monthly and the timing can be set by Civil Aviation Authority each country:

  • High jump 4 ft and above
  • Long jump 15 ft and above
  • Chin up 8 times or more
  • Push up 20 times or more
  • Sit up 30 times or more
  • Running 2 km run in 7 minutes or less
  • Carrying load of 60 kg to 100 meters in less than 70 seconds
  • Rope climbing, 15 meters within 5 minutes

How to improve Physical Fitness & Mental Alertness

  • Functional Exercises

Some functional exercises which will enable the firefighter to prepare for the rigors of the firefighting are discussed below:

  • Squat – Stair and ladder climb, hose line operation.
  • Lunge – Stair and ladder climb, balance, coordination
  • Bench Press – Hose line operation, hand tool operation, and forcible entry
  • Standing Curl – Climbing, pulling yourself through tight places
  • Shoulder Press – Hose line operation, hand tool operation, pulling ceilings
  • Rowing – Hose line operation, heavy power tool operation.
  • Sit-up – Hose line operation, heavy power tool and overall strength in transport of heavy equipment
  • Push-ups – Hose line operation, hand tool operation.
  • Two-Mile Timed Run.

Fitness Management: Role of Individual Firefighter

Each firefighter needs to take an active role in managing his/her health by taking balanced diet, controlling weight, managing stress, stay away from substance abuse and personal safety. A healthy low-fat eating plan combined with regular physical activity is the key to good physical fitness.

Use of Gadgets for Monitoring Physical Fitness

There are host of electronic gadgets which can be used for monitoring physical fitness of firefighters:

  • Smartphone — Almost every firefighter has a smart phone. It takes very little space to add Calorie Counter/workout tracker app like MyFitnessPal or Fitocracy. These can be used to track calorie intake and activity levels. Fitocracy even provides a leveling system that adds a level of friendly competition.
  • Pedometer — Pedometer is available in most countries for a couple of dollars. Firefighter can keep track of steps on the job, off the job, or at home. A total of 10,000 steps per day, equivalent to five miles/eight km is considered a benchmark for firefighters. Make a quick spreadsheet and keep track of everyone’s steps and deliver an incentive at the end of the month.

Physical Fitness Evaluation

Maintaining physical fitness must be a continuous process and must form part of everyday routine of every ARFF crew.  In order to ensure each ARFF crew maintains the required physical fitness tests should be conducted regularly, the frequency of physical evaluation can be either every six/twelve months.

Fitness evaluation tests should include:

  • Pre-evaluation health questionnaire
  • Evaluation of aerobic capacity
  • Evaluation of muscular strength, endurance and
  • Flexibility
  • Operational fitness tests
  • Stair or ladder climbing while carrying an additional load
  • Ladder raise and extension
  • Equipment carry
  • Rescue drag
  • Operating in an enclosed space
  • Hose drill and operations
  • Operating in a high temperature environment with breathing apparatus.

Simulated operational physical fitness tests can also be done and the tests can comprise:

  • Muscular strength
  • Handgrip dynamometer;
  • Static bicep curl with weights
  • Lat pull
  • Static leg press with weights
  • Bench press
  • Leg press
  • Muscular endurance
  • Push-ups, Modified push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Bent knee sit-ups
  • Crunches in a given time
  • Flexibility
  • Sit and reach, Modified sit and reach
  • Trunk extension
  • Shoulder elevation

Improving Mental Alertness

Though accidents are part of aviation, but the occurrence of them is rare thanks to the safety embedded to every system in the aircraft, proficiency of the pilots who fly and engineers who maintain the aero plane.  While ARFF crews are always prepared and vigilant to respond to any mishap, many of them may not get a chance to fight a live fire and rescue passengers in their entire career.  ARFF crews’ job is thus highly demanding yet monotonous and this can lead to lowering of mental alertness.  Two methods by which the ARFF crews can maintain high level of mental alertness are discussed below.


If firefighters practice meditation, it will help their brain to restructure itself and become resilient to physical and mental stress. Meditation can help firefighters improve their ability to concentrate in firefighting in two ways:

  • First, it will enable them to achieve better at focusing on their functional tasks while ignoring distractions.
  • Second, it can make them more capable of noticing what is happening around them, giving them a fuller perspective on the present moment or to have better situational awareness.
  • Yoga
  • Practicing of Yoga will enhance firefighter’s strength, flexibility, balance and breath control are four of the many physiological and psychological benefits. Mental strength is also built through increasing mental focus applied throughout asana class.
  • Improve blood supply to brain and brain function. Contracting agonist and antagonist muscles while stretching is what helps make yoga effective at increasing flexibility. The physical practice of yoga offers a profound method for creating balance in the body.

Yoga   helps firefighters to achieve balance of strength and flexibility in all muscle groups, with special focus on proper body alignment. The other benefits of doing Yoga by firefighters are:

  • Improvement in lung capacity
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Make bones stronger
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Lower the risk of heart attack
  • Improves Energy
  • Reducing neck and back pain
  • Lowering the blood sugar level

Physical Fitness Maintenance Program of ARFF crews should be a wellness program designed to promote physical fitness, mental alertness and a physically active lifestyle to ensure very high physical and mental ability as well as the  capacity to complete demanding tasks arising out of aircraft accidents and incidents.

Without the active involvement of all the stakeholders; the civil aviation organization of the state, the managerial and supervisory staff of the ARFF organization at each airport and the last link- the airport firefighter, it would not be possible to create and maintain a robust and efficient ARFF organization which can ensure safety of each passenger in the event of an aircraft accident or incident. Only by ensuring highest physical standards of the ARFF crews and periodical evaluation of their physical fitness and professional competency, the safety standards at each airport can be further improved.




About the Author:  Gp Capt. ER Rajappan (Retd) is a senior ARFF executive of the Indian Air Force with more than three decades of experience as Head of Airport and ARFF. He served as Airport Manager at many Indian Air Force bases wherein he initiated, executed and implemented various Aviation projects. He wrote many concept papers related to Aviation and in recognition of his professional excellence and contribution to improving the quality of ATS and ARFF, he was deputed to United Nations as Fire Marshal of Kindu airport in Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa from 2007 to 2008. Contact info:  or +919538804144


 [1] ICAO Annex 14 Chapter 9.2  2016 Edition



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“Ground Game” Sea-Tac Airport Fire Department Staffing Approach

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 11:14

“Ground Game” Sea-Tac Airport Fire Department Staffing Approach

By: Fire Chief Randy Krause

I am going to start this article out by asking a question, are we doing enough?  As an industry, are we doing enough?  As Fire Chief’s, are we doing enough?  As Firefighters, are we doing enough?  As I was giving my recent presentation on the success we have had a Sea-Tac International Airport related to increasing staffing, it dawned on me; we collectively as an industry can do so much more.  If we become more strategic, develop timelines, educate elected officials, partner with the FAA, and rally a collective voice, we can not only do enough, but we can actually initiate positive changes within the industry.

A few things I will address in this article:  how many firefighters does it take to effectively operate an ARFF Vehicle?  Response times, agent discharge requirements, and the importance of learning how to communicate with your airport leadership team.

Alright, just one more question.  How many firefighters does the FAA require us to staff in each of our ARFF Apparatus?  Hmmmm?  Exactly, the FAA does not limit it to one, but then why have many of us settled on just providing one person in these very expensive and highly technical apparatus.  Many of these apparatus have elevated waterways (HRET), multiple radios, and are in my opinion too complicated for one person to operate especially into a stressful situation such as an airplane crash with potentially 100’s of passengers evacuating the scene and more than likely running directly in the opposite direction the vehicle is heading.  Pilots get help with planes that are programmed to fly themselves and we put firefighters in these highly technical and complicated pieces of equipment and ask them to not “only” drive, but to talk on the radio, dodge passengers running from the scene, engage in a firefight, all under, at times, the worst of conditions such as darkness, fog, snow, and rain.  REALLY….. Nobody with any level of common sense would do a Crew Recourse Analysis or Human Factors Study and suggest we put only one person in the cab of these vehicles and believe they can operate them effectively.  I know many of you do this.  I know you are very good at what you do.  I am not taking that away from those that are forced or inherited this situation.  I am suggesting enough is enough and we collectively need to take a position that this practice is just not acceptable.  I am not asking the FAA to give us a staffing number, but am asking Airport Leadership and Fire Chief’s to wake up and do the right thing. (Get two firefighters in each ARFF Vehicle all the time)

On to staffing and how we can utilize the FAR 139 and NFPA 403 to assist in increasing staffing to better support the flying public out our airport.  First, I must recognize Houston Fire Department and Ron Krusleski, as he and the team at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Fire were instrumental in helping us communicate to our new Executive Director at our airport.

These are the key areas we focused on to educate our Executive Team to get their support.

  • Meet FAA 3 minute response time requirement:
    • We all need to meet this requirement. We had a situation in which our primary taxiway was being removed impacting our ability to meet this time requirement.  We were able to work with our planning team to establish two new ARFF Roads to possibly address this issue.  However, the new ARFF Roads did not provide us what we needed to continue to meet this requirement.  We conducted many response drills trying to make the time, but could not.  Between 1955 and August of 2015 we operated out of one fire station and were able to meet the response requirement, although it was under stress as we just barely met this requirement.  As soon as it was determined we no longer could make this, we established a second Fire Station on the west side of our airport.  As Station #2 came on line, this drove us to relook at staffing and resource allocation to best meet an effective and efficient response on our airfield.
  • Agent Discharge Requirements:
    • We utilized NFPA 403 as referenced by the FAA to help address and meet agent discharge requirements. The Fire Team in Houston had already done this assessment and determined for initial engagement on a 737 aircraft in the initial stages 1320 gallons of agent is needed to adequately address the practical critical area.  Using this and the fact that we now needed ARFF Vehicles on both sides of our airport, we communicated to leadership the need for (2) apparatus on each side of the airport to meet agent discharge requirements.  Most of you only have one firefighter in your ARFF Apparatus and it is not reasonable to suggest that both your roof and bumper turrets would be deployed at the same time.  Thus, we used 1200 gpms from each of two roof turrets, as two ARFF Vehicles could through discharging via roof turrets at the same time meet and/or exceed FAA/NFPA requirements.  One ARFF Vehicle falls short in accomplishing this and two ARFF Vehicles produce 2400 gpm’s exceeding the 1320 gpm requirement. (See graphic depicting PCA and TCA)
      • Meeting agent application rates: The FAA refers to NFPA in reference in regards to Theoretical Critical Area/Practical Critical Area (TCA/PCA)



  • Here is a quick overview of the graphic. 1322 is the amount of gallons identified in NFPA 403 for a 737 aircraft.  One vehicle does not meet this, if you like me do not believe both the roof turret and bumper turret should be used at the same time  (especially with only one person in cab). The 10,125 gallon number for sustainable operations cannot be met with (3) 3000 gallon ARFF Apparatus, which helped us not only justify (2)ARFF Apparatus on both sides of our airport, but adding a fourth staffed apparatus to our capabilities.

1.2.4 and 1.2.5 from AC 150/5210-6D

  • 2.4 Theoretical Critical Fire Area (TCA).
  • The TCA serves as a means of categorizing aircraft in terms of the magnitude of the potential fire hazard in which they may become involved. It is not intended to represent the average, maximum, or minimum spill fire size associated with a particular aircraft. For information on TCA, refer to NFPA 403, Annex B, §B.1.1.
  • 2.5 Practical Critical Fire Area (PCA).
  • The PCA and the related quantities of extinguishing agents are based on criteria formulated during the Second Meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Rescue and Fire Fighting Panel (RFFP II) in June 1972. RFFP II developed material indicating the practical area is two-thirds of the theoretical area based on the Panel’s work, which included a study of extinguishing agents used on actual aircraft fires. In 99 out of 106 studied fires, the quantities of agents used were less than those previously recommended by ICAO. For information on PCA, refer to NFPA 403, Annex B, §B.1.1.


  • The references highlighted in the Advisory Circular is the leverage we needed to bring in NFPA 403. In addition, Chapter 3 (below) in the Advisory Circular reference quantities and discharge capability.  It is within discharge capability that I believe provides us the necessary information to justify increasing or adding another ARFF apparatus in some situations.  At least, it definitely applied to our situation of splitting our response posture from one to two stations.

The Indexes for general aviation airports are identified in NFPA 403, Chapter 4, Table 4.3.1 and cover the areas not governed by the FAA. The extinguishing agents, quantities, and discharge and response capability for each Index are referenced in NFPA 403, Chapter 5, Table 5.3.1 (b), in U.S. customary units. NFPA 403, Annex B, additionally describes the methodology used to arrive at the designated control times (§B.2), discharge rates (§B.3), and quantities of agents to be provided (§B.4 and §B.5).

Highlighted text below is from the NTSB report after Asiana 214 incident. 

Provide capabilities for interior fire attack/rescue:  In this area we focused on the NTSB report post Asiana 214.  In their report they recommend;

The FAA has conducted crew resource studies and asks each of us to do the same for our unique situation at our specific airport.  We at Sea-Tac Fire have taken this to heart and developed the concept of focusing on the “Ground Game” focusing on getting as many firefighters on the ground within the first ten minutes of an aircraft incident.  By adding an additional ARFF Apparatus with (2) firefighter’s we add capabilities to an effective ground game.  In addition to this, we are in the near future going to a two engine concept.  This will eliminate one Aid Car, but provides our team much more flexibility, not only on the airfield, but also for responses to the terminal.

  • Educating Aviation Leadership:
    • As leaders, all we can do is educate our executives related to our operations and needs. We all have opportunities that may have been missed. By this, I mean not taking advantage of educating our leaders on the complexities and needs of the men and women protecting the public each and every day.
  • Financial Impact to the airport:


  • It is important to break down any costs associated with recommendation into terms that your executives will understand. In the example above, we asked for 8 new firefighters to staff a 4th ARFF Apparatus and 4 Captains.  The financial impact in this example is identified above and easily understood by the executives making decisions in support or against your proposal.
  • It is just “business”:
    • I learned a long time ago that we as Fire Chief’s and leaders in our industry really need to increase our business acumen. We need to be able to effectively communicate with our Airport Executives.  Knowing our business needs is one thing, but being able to communicate the needs in a way that executives understand is another.  My premise is always to articulate the need and allow the leader’s time to make a decision or ask more questions.  This is done without emotion and always as part of a larger strategic goal.  Position the argument or information in a way that allows leadership to help make the decision.  You also have to remember, our fire department budgets and costs are part of the larger airport budget and plan.  We need to be mindful of this and know how our needs fit in the larger picture of the airport plan of finance.

 We provided a slide to executives running down the first 10 minutes of an emergency.  We were trying to show that with our assigned projected ARFF apparatus what we could actually provide in regards to resources during an emergency event.  By focusing on the first 10 minutes we are able to really paint an effective operation picture to understand totality of need during the next few hours and beyond.  How many personnel could we get on the ground during an aircraft incident?  As indicated in the graphic “The First 10 Minutes” we at Sea-Tac International Airport can get (8) personnel on the ground immediately from two Engines and One Aid Car.  We also have the option to pull once the fire is knocked down from our four ARFF Trucks to add to this if the situation warrants.  In addition to all this we have one Battalion Chief, who is our Incident Commander.  This is a total of 17 on the initial response.  Many of you have less and many of you have more staffing.  Lay out your needs in a simple graphic and communicate your specific request and what you will be doing with adding personnel and why they are needed.


In conclusion; we all need to up our game when it comes to running the business side of the fire department.  In the end, our primary responsibility is to provide effective professional services in an ALL HAZARD APPROACH to protect not only the public, but our firefighters as well.  Staffing will continue to be an issue for our airports, but I am asking that we all collectively work together to affect positive changes when we can related to staffing in order to help better support our mission of Saving Lives, Protecting Property, and Serving the Public.  Relationships are critical to getting this done, not only amongst ARFF Professionals, but also with our Airport Leadership.   My team and I are available to assist in any way possible to help those of you out there trying to do the right thing and get staffing numbers that will allow you and your teams to effectively respond and protect the public, while maintaining a safe/safer working environment for your personnel.


About the Author:  Randy Krause has 33 years of fire service experience and for the past 8.5 years has been the Fire Chief at Port of Seattle Fire Department protecting Sea-Tac International airport.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Washington – Bothell and a Master’s Degree from Gonzaga.

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The AAAE/ARFFWG Designation Program Process—An Overview Introduction

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 11:02

The AAAE/ARFFWG Designation Program Process—An Overview Introduction

By: Matt Mauer and Jim Nilo

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Working Group (ARFFWG), together known as the ARFF Training Alliance offer two ARFF Certifications.

The ARFF Training Alliance, ARFF Professional Designation Program, is a two-tiered process. The first-tier, Airport Master Firefighter (A.M.F.), is designed to provide ARFF personnel with a comprehensive knowledge base of advanced ARFF operations and basics of airport administration and management. This advanced knowledge is well above the basic knowledge that would be learned in an introductory ARFF certification program. Successful completion of the A.M.F. program to earn the A.M.F. designation is accomplished by passing a 150 multiple-choice examination with a 70% or better.

The second-tier, Airport Fire Officer (A.F.O.), is a professional research and assessment designation program designed specifically for high level leadership in the ARFF profession. To successfully earn the A.F.O. designation, candidates must successfully complete the A.F.O. 100 multiple-choice examination with a 70% or better and successfully complete ONE of the following:

  • Management Research Paper
  • Case Study or Proposal or Project
  • Submit an official transcript of record from an accredited university or college to the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee to verify that you have earned a Bachelor’s degree or Graduate Degree. The major course of study must have been in fire service administration, emergency services administration, public safety administration, or related.

While not required, the AFO candidate is highly encouraged to present on the management research paper or case study at an ARFFWG sponsored event or related conference (event/conference registration fees will not be charged). Additionally, a Summary Article (1,000-word Article) should potentially be published in ARFF News or AAAE Magazine to share information that may be relevant and assist other ARFF originations.

Upon successful completion of all parts, the candidate will earn the A.F.O. designation.

Candidates have one year from the time of enrollment to complete the A.M.F. program and three years to complete the A.F.O. program. Extensions may be made on a case-by-case basis and may be subject to an additional fee of $100.

Each element in the designation process is carefully monitored by the AAAE/ ARFFWG Professional Designation Program Committee. It is the mission of the AAAE/ ARFFWG Professional Designation Program Committee to ensure that the quality of each designation step promotes the high standards of the ARFF Professional Designation Program and the privilege to use the A.M.F. and A.F.O. designations.

Past Chairman, Jason Graber was recently appointed to the position of Educational Affairs Officer which handles this type of certification. In this position, Chief Graber will follow through on his capstone work which he did on the AMF/AFO project. All ARFF training officers and Chiefs need to consider Jason’s capstone document required reading. He has done the work to create a roadmap for ARFF officer professional development. The document is a management tool that allows the user to plan, manage, conduct, and evaluate a career field training program. It is also intended to help supervisors identify training at the appropriate point in an individual’s career. It identifies task and knowledge training requirements for each skill level in this specialty and recommends education/training throughout each phase of an individual’s career.  Finally, it lists training courses available in this specialty and identifies currently available sources of training and their delivery methods. Chief Graber’s text is well aligned with the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Officer Development Handbook. Without giving you the whole work, Chief Graber’s manual gives any ARFF officer (or firefighter who aspires to be an officer) a rich resource that lays out the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Regulations & Standards, lays out an Initial Training for ARFF Firefighters, discusses and explains the NFPA 1003 Certification, along with OSHA required training for AHJ where that is applicable. He also goes through recurrent and so much more.

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) is a complex profession that incorporates specialized firefighting skills with a multi-faceted aviation industry. This unique group of firefighters requires specialized training to develop and maintain the skill sets necessary to protect the millions of passengers traveling daily throughout the United States and across the globe.

Currently, the ARFF industry only has a basic certification process available to firefighters through International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or the Pro Board of Fire Service Professional Qualification System or Pro Board. There are no other programs in existence to certify or designate firefighters at higher levels of ARFF proficiency. The complexity of airport environments and ARFF responsibilities requires a need to establish advanced programs to meet the demands of both industries. Utilizing combined expertise from the ARFF Working Group and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), a program meeting these challenges can be developed and maintained to enhance the ARFF profession and airport safety worldwide.

For more information, visit:

The post The AAAE/ARFFWG Designation Program Process—An Overview Introduction appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Leading Organizations Through Change. By: Fire Chief Jacob McAfee

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:35

Leading Organizations Through Change

By: Fire Chief Jacob McAfee

This article originally appeared in Fire Engineering, and is reprinted here in ARFF News with full permission.

   The fire service has changed exponentially over the last decade. Changes in job requirements, strategies and tactics, personal protective equipment, and significant cultural changes have been seemingly coming at rapid speeds. For the fire service specifically these changes can be daunting and almost feel unsurmountable. As these changes happen Policy makers, department officers, or other management officials push these changes down the organizational structure to the firefighters with substantial resistance. There have been too many instances over the last 10 years alone that a change in policy or culture has failed because of this resistance and led to poor service delivery, civilian and firefighter injury, or a loss of resources (money, people, equipment). To be successful, change management becomes an indispensable tool for a public service organizations ability to move forward (Odagiy, C., 2013, p. 1).

In years past the fire service was protected from financial hardship or significant discussion of any return on investment. When the fire service just provided fire protection the costs were relatively low to the public purse, the sympathy for workers providing a public service that protects life, and a pay formula that removed overt conflict (Fitzgerald, 2005, p. 649).  This made it easy to maintain the status quo and build and sustain 100 year old traditions even if ineffective and costly. This is not the case in the current political and financial environment. Fire service organizations and members must understand how to change, and not just from the top. We can argue all day if we need to change or not, we can argue that change is in fact happening but while we are bickering the requirements and expectations of our profession are evolving. The word “change” seems to almost be a trigger word in today’s fire service that is associated with a negative connotation.

What doesn’t correlate to me is that most of us seek out change every day, we seek to improve ourselves, our crews, and our service more every day as we wake. The goal, to be better today than we were yesterday. Well in doing so are we not changing? Are we not seeking out new knowledge, skills, ideas, and processes on how we can be better? The same can be said for change at any level within an organization. By deflecting the idea or theory that change is needed we neglect our most basic priority to provide effective service to our communities, highly effective teams, diverse skill sets, and impeccable character. I understand change can be challenging, I’ve worked at fire departments in four different states, on both coasts, and served in the United States Marine Corps, change was consistently part of my day. Change can be hard because it challenges our basic necessities as a human being. Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs there are (5) things people need to improve productivity;

  • Physiological needs (water, food, air, shelter, etc.)
  • Safety needs (job security, health, personal security)
  • Love and belonging (family, friendship, connection to a cause)
  • Esteem (respect, recognition, status)
  • Self- Actualization (desire to improve)

To change something you have been doing for years challenges those basic needs and causes uncertainty and anxiety. Change isn’t the problem, it’s how we approach and perceive change. Change is frequently associated with a loss of something. Whether it’s what uniform you wear or how you have done something, but certainly not thought of as a positive. Change will almost certainly effect our most basic needs causing a natural defensive reaction to push back for fear of losing something or the conditioned comfort of muscle memory. As a leader I embrace change as much as I can, understanding that not doing so is maintaining the status quo and that means not improving. Not long ago a study was conducted of some of the top leaders in a variety of fields that wanted to understand the relationship between growth and leadership; for the purpose of this article growth is change.

What they found was that “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers” (Maxwell, 2007, p. 48).

They went on to describe that the goal each day is to get better and to build on the previous day’s progress. Think about that for a moment and relate it to any change initiative in your organization. Is this not the goal? Each day the goal is to improve your progress and build off the previous day’s success, while working toward the stated goals, objectives, and vision. In addition to feeling like Maslow’s needs are being taken from us, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to leading change efforts. Generally, the fire service thinks of change as a project more than a processes and we “overestimate the importance of events and underestimate the power of the process” (Maxwell, 2007, p. 48). To be effective at leading change you have to understand it’s a process not an event, one in which Kotter (2012) describes it as an eight stage process.

I think back to a simple example while attending the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. It was the first day of class and a group of classmates and I had just shown up at the classroom. As we came into the classroom we were able to pick any seat we wanted to sit at. Naturally, most people including myself migrated to seats near people they already knew form a previous year. The classroom was set up just like the year before, the instructor stood in front of the room, and I sat next to a familiar face, it was comfortable. As lunch quickly came and went and we all returned to the classroom all of the tables, chairs, and seating assignments were changed. This wasn’t a big deal, but surprisingly I initially felt uncomfortable. As this simple change disrupted my basic needs related to safety, belonging, and even esteem as described by Maslow.

My safety (personal security) was disrupted as the comfort of sitting next to someone I had previously known and built a relationship with was gone, additionally the rapport I had built created a connection and a friendship between my fellow EFO, now I was sitting somewhere else. This caused me to feel anxious and unsure how this would work out for a moment. Lastly, my esteem was even challenged as during our previous classes and conversations I felt that I developed a healthy respect between my prior table mate and they held me in high esteem. I would now have to build that over again with someone else.

Just by SWITCHING SEATS and sitting next to a person, a peer for that matter that I had not yet met, even if for a moment caused those emotional reactions to change. If I can feel like that, even temporarily what might other firefighters or people within our organizations feel when something significant is changing? While this example is trivial it drives home the point. If small changes such as I’m describing can create some type of fear or hesitation how may members react when leaders within the organization challenge department fire service philosophy or traditional thinking? Leading substantial change will require evaluation, effort, perspective shifting, team building, communication, and a commitment to the process that is focused on people experiencing change rather than the change itself to be successful.

Throughout my career I have relied upon Kotter’s eight stages of change to prepare, plan, implement, assess, and improve organizational and small team changes and progressive initiatives. Before we talk about the (8) stages to effectively lead change efforts we have to understand the “Golden Rule” and the preparation that needs to happen before the decision to implement change is made.

   The “Golden Rule” we need to understand is that change cannot be based on a personal agenda. Change should only be proposed within our organizations to improve service delivery, increase safety, enhance professional development and training, or is driven by a regulation, standard, or stakeholder expectation.

The overwhelming reason change is so difficult is… well, you’re dealing with people. People more frequently associate it with a loss of something vs a gain of something positive. Just as in the example above, moving chairs to a different table with different people initially made me feel like I was losing personal security, esteem, and belonging. To overcome these issues and minimize the perceived threat take three things into consideration;

  • The change should come from an identified gap or information learned from evaluation. Keep in mind the gap is the distance from where you are to where you strive to be as an organization. Negative or positive change will move you closer to your desired destination.
  • Observe and assess the organizational culture, and get to know your people. What I’ve found is that often time’s people are a product of a past environment.
    1. Past leadership may have not mentored or trained their firefighters, there may have never been any change proposed previously, and they have normalized their past processes and behaviors that size up any change to the status quo a threat to their existence as they perceive it. As a leader it is our job to understand that history and identify how each employee has experienced their career. You don’t know what you don’t know, so ask.

“Leadership fails when they look to lead a group of people before they know anything about the people they are leading; listen, learn, and lead” (Maxwell, 2001).

  • Strategically communicate clearly, early, and often.

Gaps may be identified from various department reports or assessments such as accreditation and program compliance assessments, stakeholder meetings, past grievance trends, past employee discipline trends, department analytics, survey results, and most importantly feedback form employees to name a few.

As John F. Kennedy said “If you spend too much time focusing on the past and the present you will surely miss the future”.

Culture assessment; some ideas that you may use to help assess the culture of your organization that I have found successful include; meet with each employee individually seeking feedback on their ideas, expectations, and problems; I ask a standard set of questions to all employees and created a trend report of aggregate information that helped identify common themes. This helped identify specific issues that may normally be hidden within the team are addressed. This report is briefed to all department employees so they are aware of common issues within the department and how we will address them to improve our people, our brand, and our mission.

When meeting with employees the standard questions I ask are;

  • What do you think are the three most significant challenges the department is facing? How would you address it?
  • What do you think are the most significant strengths as a department? How would you capitalize on those?
  • If you could change anything in the department right now what would it be and why?
  • What are your personal or professional goals?
  • What secondary/extra duties are you involved in?
  • Do you think your skills are being utilized appropriately? If not what do you want to be involved in?
  • What is a talent or skill that you have, that I don’t know about?
  • What are your expectations of me?

Observe, be aware of the interaction you see daily; administer anonymous surveys seeking information on what is good, not good, and seek employee input on how they would fix it; invest in active conversation, listen to what your employees are doing and saying, work with the union, and be as transparent as possible. This qualitative and quantitative data will help identify gaps your organization may have, identify common themes, or major issues that allow meaningful change that is people driven to accomplish your mission, not agendas or personal pursuits.

Communication is key to any firehouse or fire ground. Communicate EARLY and CLEARLY lay out expectations, solicit feedback, and have productive discussion. The most critical piece in early communication for possible change is to establish the why behind it, connect how it will benefit the team and the organization, and what may happen if change does not occur. Make sure the majority of communication is done in person in some fashion, secondary communication via other electronic or written communication should be used as an anchor to prior face to face communication. Communicate often! As people feel change coming or expect that change will come in some form the natural reaction is for people to do a combination of things; ask questions, start rumors in the absence of information, align with factions for or against the anticipated change, etc.

The more you communicate and be transparent along the way the more landmines you dodge in the process. While there will still be hesitation and evet outright pushback event before anything is changed, being honest and transparent builds trust and fosters a sense of reassurance. Once the stage has been set and foundational trust developed through interaction, observation, and communication you may be ready to start leading through change. As we move through the stages keep in mind these need to be completed in order and need to be successful at each stage before moving on to the next. Moving from one stage to the next to fast or without knowing whether that stage has been successful can lead to failure.

“People have to buy into the leader before they buy into their vision” (Maxwell, 2007, p. 192)

These 8 stages of change help create a framework in which to work from as we focus on people to make change successful.

  1. Create a sense of Urgency
  2. Form a guiding coalition
  3. Develop a vision and strategy
  4. Communicate the change vision
  5. Empower employees
  6. Generate short term wins
  7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
  8. Anchoring new approaches

Creating a sense of Urgency

   Creating a sense of urgency is possibly the most crucial step in the process, in fact 50% of change initiatives fail here (Kotter, 2012).

As this is the first step in the process, not ensuring your team has done a complete job of communicating the urgency for change can lead to failure from the start. Many times leaders underestimate the effort and commitment creating change requires. Creating a sense of urgency takes humility, vision, action, relationships, and a willingness for your members to go well beyond what’s listed in their position description.

   No matter the size of your department the number of people that will need to be invested in the change effort outside of their traditional roles may be as high as 25% of the work force to produce significant change (Kotter, 2012). Whatever the change; staffing, accreditation, uniforms, additional duties, service delivery etc. you have to make it seem as if NOT CHANGING is more dangerous that change itself.

Strategies for creating a sense of urgency include;

  1. Be honest and transparent on where you stand as an organization
  2. Base the need for change on an identified gap
  3. No personal agenda, remain people focused
  4. It’s about perspective
  5. The most important thing to anyone is their own security (address those needs)
  6. Communicate WHY change is needed
  7. Remove obstacles
  8. Accept your piece of the mess and face issues together
  9. Set the mood (establish trust and be empathetic)

Creating a guiding coalition

Nothing we do will be successful alone, the very reason we are successful in the fire service is an effective team centered on people driving towards the same mission, vision, and values. To be successful coalitions for the change efforts have to span across various levels of influence in the organization. Frequently revisit the purpose and WHY with these groups, don’t allow time and firehouse rumors to tear apart your coalitions. Identifying the various factions in your department and their reasons for or against change help Factors that will help you be successful and creating a guiding coalition include;

  1. Understand the perspective of various factions in your organization
  2. Engage all stakeholders across those factions
  3. Utilize strengths based leadership
    1. Engaging various factions across the department and utilizing the strengths of your team will accelerate your progress. High performing teams utilize the strengths of each team member to complement each other to achieve a common goal.
  4. Keep them engaged and frequently communicate
  5. Empower them to tell stories of their transition and how it benefits them and the organization
  6. Ensure change agents at every level
  7. Focus on the proponents not the opponents

Create a Vision

What is a vision? A vision is a picture of where you or the organizations strives to be. The vision is typically accompanied by WHY people should chase that future. The leader of any organization should be committed and passionate about the vision. A leader who has prepared and built trust among the members will have greater success. Three things affect people’s intuition to follow a leader; trust, hope, and vision. A good vision does the following;

  1. Clearly articulates the end state
  2. Excites/motivates people to take action
  3. The clarity and excitement of the vision coordinates the action of people
  4. Seems realistic and attainable
  5. Is tied to the mission and values
  6. Relates to all members (what’s in it for them)
  7. Changes hearts and minds

Communicate the Vision

The first step in communicating the vision is for leaders to lead by example. Communication at any event or at any level is the common reason for failure. To communicate the vision appropriately take these tips into consideration;

  1. Use all type of communication (verbal, electronic, social media, written, newspapers, etc.)
  2. Face to face communication is the most effective
  3. When communicating the vision stimulate emotion and be empathetic
  4. Be clear, concise, frequent, and consistent.
    1. Confusing and inconsistent messages can cause strife and influences people to lose interest.
  5. Vision drives the department
  6. Don’t over communicate and under deliver (communication of the vision should have actionable meaning)
  7. Don’t make it complicated or unrealistic
  8. Guard against leadership fade. Communicating the vision appropriately takes work, especially if you get out in front enough. Since change can be a physically and emotionally taxing endeavor leadership fade can creep in.

Empowering other to take action

As discussed previously, no significant change initiative is successful alone. Empowering our employees to take action is the only way to be successful. Be aware of the danger zone here. In the fire service we tend to give projects or tasks to our “go getters” because we know they will get it done. This can quickly overload the most motivated and skilled employee increasing the chance of burnout, this has to be a team effort. When empowering others ensure they understand the expectations and be at peace with the fact that it may not be the way you would do it, let them work. If they run into issues provide support and guidance and give the work back as soon as possible. In the case where the outcome is not what was expected ensure a positive learning environment and take advantage of the training/mentoring opportunity, and find a way to get them back grinding on their own to foster that positive, safety environment that encourages innovation and employee engagement without fear of reprisal. Tips to empowering others to take action include;

  1. Encourage risk taking
  2. Set expectations; empowerment without expectations can backfire if there are competing visions
  3. Eliminate obstacles to change and make efforts compatible with the vision
  4. Follow through with their efforts
  5. Acknowledge losses
  6. Publicly share success
  7. Mentor and coach toward success. Training must be provided and an environment of trust and support fostered or people feel disempowered.
  8. The best ideas have to win; listen to your members, be open minded and ask their opinions.
  9. To prevent backsliding, follow up on goals and offer any support nessesary
  10. Don’t micromanage
  11. Confront supervisors who undercut change

Generating short term wins

Change is a long process that takes significant emotional and physical investment to succeed. Recognizing short term wins along this journey is critical to feeling like action toward the vision is happening and efforts are paying off. Talking about goal accomplishment will help people recognize we are working towards the same thing. Short terms wins must be acknowledge publicly, be sure to describe how this win has further progressed the agenda, helped the organization, or people improve. This will enhance the buy in of the members and possibly turn the “fence sitters” into believers. What has worked for me is a consistent progress report recognizing the team’s success and individual efforts. Depending on the change effort I would have a 30-90 day progress report that is briefed at a department level. These reports would take place at a department all hands where recognition could be awarded and questions answered. Typically, these events would be informal, I usually cook out for the department following the brief and any follow up recognition. Consider putting the crews down from any non-emergent taskers for the remainder of that day; everyone needs a recharge. Strategies for successful goal recognition are;

  1. Leaders must be involved
  2. Set goals that foster improvement and recognize effort
  3. Pace your work
  4. Be creative in the recognition process and show appreciation publicly
  5. As much as possible show the success and impact of the change efforts
  6. Focus on collective performance
  7. Use a variety of methods to communicate success

Consolidate wins and create more change

As short term goals become a reality capitalize on those wins to foster excitement and create more change. The momentum gained from success and the realization by employees that change has been positive can make them feel better about their position. This confidence will help people think clearly and openly to give new ideas a chance to succeed. Until change sinks deeply into a company’s culture new approaches are fragile and subject to regression, remember anchoring change can take 5-10 years. Instead of declaring victory, leaders of successful efforts use the credibility afforded by the short-term wins to tackle even bigger problems…they typically go after systems and structures that are not consistent with the transformation vision.

Frequent mistakes in this phase are; consolidating wins and feeling the pulse of your people before further change is initiated; Reinforcing change too early; thinking short term; not using a crew resource management approach to assess the pulse of change; and having initiatives that are too lofty. For change to be affective and receptive on a consistent basis it has to have had a positive effect over time. One success does not ensure future readiness.

Anchoring new approaches

When organizational change sticks it becomes “the way we do things around here”. When it seeps into the organizational body and new behaviors are rooted in social norms and shared values change is setting in. Here strategies will need to be employed to ensure leadership development and succession planning for sustainment long term. Don’t let the initial feeling of success cause you to lose sight of the overall objective and inflate your EGO.

Factors are particularly important in institutionalizing change;

  • Create a relationship between changed behaviors and organizational success/progress
  • Make a conscious attempt at showing how new approaches, behaviors, and attitudes have helped improve performance (management meetings, newsletters, other forms of org. communications)
  • Ensure that the next generation of top management really does personify the new approach
  • If change is more difficult than planned look up not down; Top level management is the most common reason for failure and insertion of barriers
  • Remember that each step is the foundation for the other; you may need to continually evaluate each step before moving on to sure of the impact
  • Best way to know that you have anchored change is to have it succeed when you are gone

20 common sense tips for successful change;

  1. Invest in knowing your workforce
  2. Lead by example
  3. Relate the benefit to their well being
  4. Understand their perspective
  5. Meet disruptions head on with transparent, frank, and data driven discussion
  6. To work, it has to be about what they love; people generally see change as always about me, my stuff, and my feelings first.
  7. Behave consistently with your peoples goals, needs, and values in mind
  8. Identify the champions, allies, fence sitters, mellow opponents, and hard core opponents early
  9. You will only be successful from a TEAM approach
  10. Never let personal opinion influence change
  11. Take advantage of momentum and empower your people to do great things
  12. You can never communicate enough
  13. Champion your cause, be out in front, and be public about it
  14. Continually assess each phase before moving to the next
  15. Publicize short term wins and extraordinary efforts
  16. Stay connected; be transparent and open for discussion
  17. Understand that change starts at the top but is anchored at the bottom
  18. Remember everyone changes at a difference pace
  19. Frequently move out to the balcony
  20. Build coalitions at all levels

Ultimately it’s up to you!

No matter the profession or trade change is happening all around us. As you initiate change initiative remember that people take on the characteristics of the leader. Focus on building the team, communicate often while educating and mentoring along the way. Change is about dealing with adaptive challenges, to stay ahead of problems and predict behaviors frequently move up to the balcony. Down in the weeds everything can seem chaotic and disorganized. Moving up to the balcony allows you to see from an elevated position across the organization. Overall, to be successful you have to understand your people and your organization. Remember how you felt the last time something changed in your life and plan to address those same needs for your employees. If something seems off gather your team and assesse the phase you are in. Mabey you underestimated the process and need to go back and shore up the previous phase before moving on. Whether you use this approach to foster change or not it’s coming, you need to be prepared.


Fitzgerald, I. (2005). The death of corporatism? Managing change in the fire service. Personnel Review, 34(6), 648-662.

Kotter, J. (2012). Leading organizations through change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press

Maxwell, J. (2007). The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership (10th Ed). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.

Odagiu, C. (2013). Organizational culture, change management and performance. Managerial Challenges of the Contemporary Society. Proceedings, 6, 1.

About the Author:  Jacob McAfee, MS, CFO, CTO, MI FireE is the Fire Chief for the Fresno City College (FCC) Fire Academy and Director of Fire Technology programs. Jacob is a former DoD Fire Chief and has 19 years of fire service experience.  Chief McAfee completed National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP), and holds Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Chief Training Officer (CTO) credentials from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE). He holds Masters Degrees in Occupational Safety and Health and Emergency Management while currently pursuing his PhD in Emergency Management with Capella University.

The post Leading Organizations Through Change. By: Fire Chief Jacob McAfee appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

One Man One. Truck Training at the One-9

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:12

One Man One Truck

Training at the One-9

By: Captain Edwin W. Hall

Lynchburg Regional Airport ARFF Station Company 19 conducted their annual live fire training during the week of May 7-12 followed by the airports Triennial drill. The Virginia Department of Fire Programs supplied the mobile ARFF simulator and Instructors from the ARFF Cadre to help conduct training. ARFF Capt. Edwin W. Hall also a member of the states ARFF Cadre was lead Instructor.

Several weeks prior to training ARFF Chief Heather Palm sent an invitation and schedule to surrounding agencies and allowed them to pick a time or times that were convenient for them to attend. The ARFF crew did their live burns with  the airport’s ARFF truck using the ARFF simulators 1400 square foot burn pad which simulates a pool of burning fuel, applied a water curtain to protect the fuselage during an engine fire and putting out wheel fires.

Normal training for responding agencies consist of familiarization of aircraft, learning and or reviewing how to resupply agent to ARFF trucks. Units would do hand line pit fires, interior fires, wheel and engine fires. After looking at the schedule and the equipment that was being sent to the airport for training it was time to think outside the box.

During one training cycle Lynchburg Fire Department sent a rescue and medic unit for training. Instructor Ed Mann came up with the idea of utilizing the equipment on the rescue. Instructor Mann gave the crew a scenario of an aircraft that had crashed on a hillside with victims in the aft section of the aircraft. The crew set up a simple mechanical advantage, using a stokes basket rescued two victims. One of the issues that was addressed was stabilization on larger aircraft. After discussing equipment carried by local agencies that would respond to the airport the equipment carried would not be suitable for large aircraft stabilization and an outside resource or resources would be required.




Truck 2 from Lynchburg Fire department and Truck 15 from Campbell County came out for training at the different times. The simulator was set up on the approach end of RWY 17 which had been closed. After getting permission from ATC tower manager to operate the trucks on the runway. The Truck Company and medics were giving the task of placing the bucket on or near the wing. Medics went in using the over the wing escape hatch and conducted victim removal. This gave responders an idea of what they would be dealing with during an actual emergency.








During the week 125 personal attended training. There were 5 ARFF firefighters from various out state airports came to do their annual burns. This was a large increase of attendance from previous years. Some of the things that made this training a success  was Chief Palm’s setting a daily schedule with multiple times and allowing agencies to select the times they could come. Setting scenarios that allowed agencies to train and hone their skills with equipment normally not sent to the airport for training and being able to use an aircraft for practice. Hopefully this will generate a new interest in training at the airport.

On Saturday May 12th Lynchburg Regional Airport conducted their triennial disaster drill.

The scenario was a CRJ 700 regional jet was landing with no flaps. After the jet touched down a landing gear collapsed and the plane skidded clipping a Cessna 150 holding short on a taxiway.  ARFF 1 controlled the fire. ICS was implemented and a unified command post established. Incoming Rustburg tanker 16 resupplied ARFF 1.  Brookville Timber lake Engine 12-1 established a RIT line to protect firefighters conducting interior operations. Lyn-Dan Heights Engine 15-3 supplied water to engine 12-1. Medic units from Campbell County Public safety and Lynchburg Fire Department, Centra Health established a Triage and transport area as victims were removed from fuselage and were triaged. After the drill was over a critique and debriefing was held for all responders by observers and participants. Many issues that were brought up during the debriefing can be addressed to make for safer smoother operations in the event of a real crash.

Thank you to all the agencies who participated in training and or the triennial drill.

Lynchburg Regional Airport ARFF crew, Lynchburg Fire Dept., Campbell County Public Safety Career staff, Lyn-Dan Heights VFD, Brookville -Timberlake VFD, Evington VFD, Concord VFD, Rustburg VFD, Va. State Police, Airport Police, Centra Health, Horizon Health, and other organizations not listed.

A special thanks to Liberty University School of Aeronautics for supplying an aircraft for the disaster drill and students that were victims.

Photo credits

Picture of Campbell Co. Truck 15 with ladder extend photographer Colton Mullins

All other photographs by Capt. Edwin W. Hall AMF


About the Author:  Captain Edwin W. Hall with Lynchburg Regional Airport ARFF is employed by Protect Fire Services.  He is an instructor of Fire Programs with the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Also, he’s a life member of the Lyn-Dan Heights Volunteer Fire Department.


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7 Habits of Highly Effective Fire Prevention Organizations. By: Fire Marshal B. Aaron Johnson

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 09:46

7 Habits of Highly Effective Fire Prevention Organizations.

By: Fire Marshal B. Aaron Johnson

With less people and more responsibilities, fire prevention organizations must function more effectively and efficiently than ever before. The most essential functions of inspections, plan review, public education, and investigations can seem overwhelming to the understaffed, and overworked fire prevention organization. With the many options, responsibilities, and requirements of the fire prevention organization how can we best utilize our personnel and ensure that they are functioning most efficiently by focusing on the right things?

NFPA 1730, Standard on Organization and Deployment of Fire Prevention Inspection and Code Enforcement, Plan Review, Investigation, and Public Education Operations outlines essential functions and tasks of the fire prevention organization. The guidance of this standard provides the basis for the 7 habits of highly effective fire prevention organizations. For maximum effectiveness these habits must work together as an integrated fire prevention organizational system.

Highly effective fire prevention organizations:

  1. Know their community.
  2. Have a plan.
  3. Enforce the code.
  4. Are proactive with plan review and field inspections.
  5. Investigate fire incidents.
  6. Educate the public.
  7. Are adequately staffed.
  1. They know their community.

Successful and effective fire prevention organizations know their community. They become intimately familiar with their communities demographics, economics, geographical features, fire experience, buildings, structures, and specific hazards.  This information is gained through the conduct of a Community Risk Assessment (CRA).

The CRA is conducted in 3 steps: information gathering, data analysis, and strategy development. The CRA compiles data from a variety of sources in order to provide a picture of the community and its fire and life safety history.  Through data analysis and evaluation specific risks that a community is exposed to can be identified. From this data collection and analysis process, a fire protection and life safety strategy can be formulated to reduce these risks.

  1. The have a plan.

From the CRA process a fire and life safety strategy can be formulated. This strategy is referred to as a community risk reduction (CRR) plan. The CRR will be different for every community, however, common risk reduction elements include, existing building inspections, plan review, origin and cause investigations, and public education. Each of these tasks come with their own set of challenges. The amount of time and complexity alloted to these tasks will vary based on community needs.

  1. They enforce the code

The most critical task of the fire prevention organization is the inspection and code enforcement of existing structures.  All structures within a community can be identified as high, moderate, or low risk, or critical infrastructure. High risk structures include healthcare, education, multi-family, detention, and assembly occupancies. Critical infrastructure can be defined as those systems, structures, or assets that are essential for the community to function.  This would include power plants, public safety, and water treatment facilities.  The higher the risk category the more frequent and extensive the inspections should be. Structures identified as high risk should be inspected at least annually, and those identified as critical infrastructure, even more frequently.

  1. They are proactive with plan review and field inspections.

The plan review process can let a builder or property owner understand the feasibility and expected costs of their project. It also provides a preview of what the fire department can expect to be coming to their community.  The plan review process reveals site access, water supply, construction features, fire protection systems availability. Hazardous processes that take place within the structure, or hazardous materials stored on-site can be discovered in the plan review phase. Compliance with construction codes and installation standards is ensured through the field inspection activity.  Systems are tested for functionality and the structure and operational features are inspected throughout the process to culminate in the building owner receiving his final Certificate of Occupancy to signify that compliance standards have been met, and the building is safe for occupancy.

  1. They investigate fire incidents.

Fire origin and cause investigations can detect product defects, determine fire cause trends, and prevent arson and related crimes. The data collected from the investigation process can play an important role in community risk reduction.  Origin and cause investigation can be a time consuming, and sometimes slow-moving, process. The investigation process includes on-scene time, research and data mining, interviews, report writing, and case preparation time.  For departments that are operating at minimum staffing levels the use of company officers can considerably decrease the workload of the fire investigator and other fire prevention personnel.

  1. They educate the public.

By identifying root fire causes, and at-risk populations a public education agenda can be set. Whether the population is senior citizens, young children, a college town, or the workplace there is a multitude of existing programs that can be used to effectively educate and reduce risk. Behavior only changes with education.

  1. They are adequately staffed.

By identifying the risks posed to a community, fire prevention functions activities can be prioritized, and staffing required to complete those tasks can be determined.  Using the program and organizational guidance provided in NFPA 1730 the case for staffing and budget requirements can be clearly presented. The annex section of NFPA 1730 provides the following 5-step system to determine minimum staffing levels.

Step 1: Outline all services provided by the fire prevention organization.

Step 2:  Determine time demand for each task.

Step 3:  Determine total personnel hours required to complete activities.

Step 4:  Calculate personnel total availability.

Step 5:  Calculate total number of personnel required to perform tasks.

Aristotle said, “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Through the regular practice of these 7 habits, the fire prevention organization can function at a high level of excellence while maintaining maximum effectiveness and efficiency. .


About the Author:  Aaron Johnson serves as Fire Marshal for Rural/Metro Fire Dept. in West Palm Beach, FL.  He holds multiple fire service certifications, and has over a decade of fire protection/life safety experience. He regularly writes on fire protection, and can be contacted at his website,

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Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:21

A Los Angeles firefighter is recovering today after he was hit by a car while treating a car crash victim in North Hills.

The firefighter suffered minor injuries Monday night when a car struck him at the scene of a two car crash in in the 15700 block of West Lassen Street, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.

The crash happened at at 7:11 p.m. Monday night. The firefighter is expected to recover, and the both the initial crash and the crash involving the firefighter were under investigation.

Additional details were not immediately available


Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:18

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) – A fire broke out Tuesday morning at Fire Station 3 in Oceanside when no first responders were inside to put it out.

The flames broke out in a rear dorm room on the second floor adjacent to a furnace in the wall, said Oceanside Fire Department Battalion Chief Scott Stein.

People driving by saw the fire at 3101 Oceanside Blvd. and reported it, said Stein.

Twenty-seven firefighters from Carlsbad and other stations in Oceanside responded to the scene to put out the fire. The five Oceanside firefighters who were on duty with Station 3 were not available at the time the flames broke out.

The second floor of the station was damaged by smoke and flames, Stein said. The first floor had minimal damage.

“This is really a hit to the city because it’s centrally located,” Stein said.

Although Stein did not have an estimate on when repairs would be completed, he said Fire Station 3 firefighters would be displaced at least a month.

“We’re relocating them to other fire stations throughout the city,” said Stein.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is being handled by the Vista Fire Department.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Today is Wednesday the 29th of May, 2019

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:14

Here are a few articles for your reading pleasure…

Be safe out there!


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Know Your Needs for ARFF Equipment

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:12

Understand your options and how to bring in stakeholders when purchasing new equipment.


The Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division purchased 14 ARFF vehicles in the past two years and has set bids for four more 1,500-gallon vehicles and two 4,500 vehicles.

Martinez Jacobs, airports fire chief for HDOTA, said there are 52 trucks across Hawaiian airports and they’re currently implementing Oshkosh Global Strikers, replacing equipment that’s 12 to 15 years old. 

“It all depends on the usage,” he said. “A truck at Honolulu or Maui will get heavy usage, but if you go to the Big Island, the usage is probably about half of that.”

ANA All Nippon Airways (ANA) recently began A380 service to Honolulu International Airport, so Jacobs said they needed to update their airport emergency plan.  ICAO made a special Category 10 for the A380. Jacobs said Honolulu is a Category 8 in ICAO and FAA Category E, which is the highest level for Part 139.

“The FAA will support three vehicles with 6,000 gallons,” he said. “So in the event that we really have something go down, we have additional backup trucks that we can run out to the scene.

Honolulu also has assistance of Hickam Air Force Base in the event of a major incident, but the other airports in the state don’t have that same resource, so Jacobs said maintenance and training are key elements to making sure the equipment is performing optimal.

“They do initial training and a year after that initial training, we put everyone through that same training again,” he said. “If you’re operating the truck improperly, then it’s going to problems, especially when you make mistakes and operator error.

“The better trained the operator is, the better they can analyze a situation when it’s happening will help preserve the life of the truck.”

Ocala International Airport in Ocala, Fla., put its new ARFF vehicle into service in December, replacing a 20-year-old unit, which the airport bought at auction in 2008.

Matthew Grow, airport director at Ocala International Airport, said they opted for a new unit because it only cost the airport $27,000 to obtain the $540,000 vehicle. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) kicked in $486,000 towards the unit and the Florida Department of Transportation (FODT) also helped cover the cost of the vehicle.

“When you look at it compared to what we had, it was such a simple decision,” he said. “The ARFF industry has grown and transformed and incorporated so many new technologies in their vehicles compared to what we had from a 1998 truck. From the suspension to computerized agent disbursal, the pump mechanism the dynamics and diagnostics.

“We had a really dated piece of equipment.

Ocala is primarily a general aviation facility with some charter flights, but Grow said given the high volume of equine cargo coming through the facility makes it necessary for having ARFF coverage.

“Less than 1 percent of our operations requires that ARFF coverage, but that 1 percent the value of the cargo exceeds several hundred millions of dollars,” he said.

The old ARFF unit was one of E-One’s original Titan units, Grow said. The maintenance costs began to balloon, so they knew it was time to look for a new piece of equipment.

“The parts it needed were literally like Unobtainium,” he said E-One couldn’t even fix their own truck anymore, even though their manufacturing facility is located right across the street from the Ocala airport.”

Know your needs

Randal Rhodes,  assistant fire chief with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s Department of Public Safety, said airports and the fire services that support commercial airports should look at ARFF technology needs from the standpoint of several key elements: business performance (will this keep the airport in regulatory compliance); operational excellence (will the technology have a continued positive impact of emergency operations; and safe and secure (does it work and does it function well).

“[T]he agency/airport ‘should’ review the FAA FAR regulations, Aviation Circulars, and review adopted standards under the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) for guidance on required technology requirements and current standards for use of such technology,” he said. “Additionally, airports and agencies need to look at the need for technology based upon various response conditions. One example is certain visual aid technology an airport in San Francisco might need due to the famous foggy weather versus an airport in the desert.

“Ask the question, ‘Does the technology need to be fixed to the vehicle, or can it be operated by the operator like heat detection systems?’”

For establishing a time frame to make new purchases, there are a couple of different approaches an airport / fire department can use as a guideline. One way is to make purchases on a rotational basis. Rhodes said some departments will use an operational period, such as every 10 years, to replace old equipment with new. The benefits allow an airport/department to plan accordingly for budgets, knowing the replacement schedule is pre-determined. The downside to this model is the potential significant capital expenditure over a given budget year to purchase and integrate the new equipment.

Another approach is to tract maintenance and downtime  versus residual value as the equipment ages. Once the ARFF equipment’s maintenance cost of increasing downtime exceeds its overall value, the equipment is replaced.

“The benefit to this model is the capital expenses are distributed over a multi-year budget process, decreasing the ‘shock’ to the bottom line. The downside is continued tracking of maintenance, downtime and equipment failures,” Rhodes said. “From a equipment operator’s perspective, the expectation of the airport or department is to consider replacement or new equipment before safety is potentially compromised. If an add-on, new piece of technology comes along, a collaboration between the operators, airport decision makers, and the fire department is formed  to perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the effectiveness and efficiently of the new technology.

Rhodes said fire fighter health and safety have always been concerns. Manufacturers are looking at medical embedded fire fighting gear so incident safety officers and incident commanders can monitor the health of each responder in various response roles. The ability to monitor the heart, blood pressure, temperatures and location can be very important to the safety of the fire fighter. Other technologies can enhance the response safety of drivers, vehicles and survivors by providing enhance driving capabilities through enhanced vision.

“Airports and ARFF fire departments can work closely with technology and equipment manufacturers and with regulatory agencies to ensure a collaborative effort is present when opportunities exist for integration of new equipment and technology for first responders,” he said. “From a first responder’s perspective, if the equipment or technology isn’t reliable or has a short lifespan, they may be hesitant to use it when needed.

Training plans were developed through years of data collection, maintenance records, attending seminars and seeing what types of best practices other airports have been implementing, Jacobs said.

“You have a much deeper understanding of the components that are needed to operate a good ARFF apparatus program and to keep operational readiness,” he said. “Operational readiness is a key component here.”

Learning to better maintain the old equipment also allowed HDOTA to keep the vehicles as backup units, Jacobs said.

“It takes a lot, but you want to treat it like it’s your car,” he said. “Now when you look at a truck, it’s still clean, we know the mechanics are really trained good, we have good maintenance practices, we have continual training and we have good operator training because we have continual training.”

When picking equipment, it’s important to consider all the needs outside of the FAA regulation. Jacobs said HDOTA learned having lights all around the vehicles has helped along with rear steering vehicles, which cuts down on tire wear.

Jacobs recommended doing a gap analysis to see what’s lacking in your program when picking new ARFF equipment and also getting firefighters to seminars and other opportunities so they know what they need.

“Training is the most important factor,” he said. “Then being able to go back day-to-day and evaluate the truck in the same way you evaluate the truck when your first got it. That evaluation methodology will save the truck wear and tear and it will provide an extended life.”

As with any new piece of technology entering a career field, there will be some time to learn and become confident with the new system.  Rhodes said defining a lead time is best determined by the type of technology under consideration. Time to train is dependent on if the technology is a whole new system or a significant enhancement to the current system.

An example of this is the High Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) system available to ARFF vehicles. As a new system, training was complex with classroom training, hands-on training and skills training in the field. After the system was in use, manufacturers came out with an enhanced camera system utilizing normal vision and heat detection vision to aid them in the use of the system. The degree of training was not too labor intensive for current operators in order to effectively use the system.

Some departments may enlist the assistance of their risk management department to possibly perform a risk analysis which would include pre and post-purchase training. Another consideration to include in the decision process is who is qualified to train and/or where can this training be accomplished. Manufacturers may provide a comprehensive training program while other departments may seek out experienced training facilities. 

“This was part of the vision for the DFW Airport Fire Training Research Center (FTRC). The FTRC is well known for its excellent training programs, but the center also provides manufacturers a near real-life fire fighting situation(s) to test and validate the technology but also the training program to train users of the technology,” Rhodes said. “This research side of the FTRC has allowed the center to keep up with technology advances but also the opportunity to become subject matter experts (SME’s) in a variety of updated technology opportunities.”

Grow said Ocala went with the new redesign of the Titan line by E-One, which is the fist vehicle of its type put into service. He said the company put it through extensive testing before placing it into service at Ocala and the company is located across the street from the airport, making for a prime location in need of service.

The airport brought in both members from the Ocala Fire Department and the city’s fleet management department to help write the spec for the vehicle. Grow said having the new equipment improved the overall moral of the firefighters as well.

“Our firefighters absolutely love it,” Grow said. “It’s almost the same feeling as when you buy that grail car and put it in your parking garage at home and you develop a relationship with that vehicle.

“I believe that our firefighters have developed a relationship with this new vehicle. They take care of it, they take it our and walk it every day, they adore it, they take care of it, they like showing it off and they hope to never use it, but if they do it’s going to be perfect.

Grow recommended airports consider the long-term cost of equipment when determining the future of it’s ARFF units.

“Make sure whomever the manufacturer or supplier is, make sure they have a good maintenance agreement in place that will cover the airport and make sure it’s from a reputable company that can follow through with their promises,” he said. “It’s always the long-term costs that get you in the end.

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NTSB Publishes Preliminary Report For Investigation Of Alaska Mid-Air Collision

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:07

Calls For Greater Safety Measures For For-Hire Flights

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the preliminary report for its investigation of the May 13, 2019, fatal mid-air collision near Ketchikan, Alaska, one in a string of recent accidents involving for-hire aircraft. 

The collision between a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter occurred about seven miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. The DHC-2 commercial pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries and the DHC-3 certificated airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, nine passengers sustained serious injuries and one passenger sustained fatal injuries.

Both aircraft involved in the mid-air collision were operating under Part 135 of FAA regulations, which govern the operation of business and charter flights. So was the airplane that crashed Monday in Alaska and the helicopter that crashed in Hawaii April 29.

“While these tragic accidents are still under investigation, and no findings or causes have been determined, each crash underscores the urgency of improving the safety of charter flights by implementing existing NTSB safety recommendations,” said Robert L. Sumwalt, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “The need for those improvements is why the NTSB put Part 135 aircraft flight operations on the 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.”

The NTSB’s safety recommendations call on Part 135 operators to implement safety management systems, record and analyze flight data, and ensure pilots receive controlled-flight-into-terrain avoidance training. Major passenger airlines, which operate under Part 121, have adopted these measures and have seen a great improvement in safety.

“A customer who pays for a ticket should trust that the operator is using the industry’s best practices when it comes to safety,’’ Sumwalt (pictured)said. “And it shouldn’t matter if the operator has one airplane or 100. Travelers should have an equivalent level of safety regardless of the nature of the flight for which they paid.”

The preliminary report on the investigation of the May 13 mid-air collision does not discuss probable cause. The report contains information gathered thus far in the investigation.  Determination of probable cause and the issuance of any safety recommendations comes at the end of an investigation. Investigations involving fatalities and other major NTSB investigations currently take between 12 and 24 months to complete.

(Source: NTSB news release. Images from file)


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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report In Chesapeake Bay Helo Accident

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:04

Pilot And Passenger Fatally Injured When The Aircraft Went Down

The NTSB has released a preliminary report from an accident involving a Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter that went down on May 4th in the Chesapeake Bay near Kent Island, MD. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The flight was a personal flight undertaken in instrument conditions, and a special flight rules area flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated from Tipton Airport (KFME), Fort Meade, Maryland, around 1130. 

According to a fuel receipt, the pilot fueled the helicopter with 14 gallons of fuel before departing on the accident flight.

According to several witnesses and preliminary radar data obtained from the FAA, the helicopter was flying around the southern point of Kent Island for several minutes before the accident occurred. One witness stated that the weather was “cloudy and the fog was heavy.” Another witness reported that the helicopter was “flying very low to the water in dense fog,” before the accident occurred.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for rotorcraft-helicopter. The pilot was issued a second-class medical certificate on July 6, 2017, with no limitations. The pilot’s logbook was recovered, and he recorded 103.5 total hours of flight time; all of which were in the accident helicopter. He did not hold an instrument rating, nor did he record any instrument flight time or simulated instrument flight time.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the two-seat, light helicopter was manufactured in 2017. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-360-J2A engine and it was not certificated to fly in instrument meteorological conditions. The main rotor had 3 rotor blades that turned in the clockwise direction. The helicopter’s most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on April 1, 2019, at a Hobbs time of 599.1 hours. The Hobbs meter that was observed postaccident indicated 645.5 hours.

The recorded weather observation at Bay Bridge Airport (W29), Stevensville, Maryland, around the time of the accident, which was about 8 miles to the northeast of the accident location, included wind from 350° at 5 knots, visibility 3 miles, mist, overcast clouds at 400 ft above ground level, temperature 18° C, dew point 18° C; and an altimeter setting of 29.88 inches of mercury.

The helicopter impacted the Chesapeake Bay, about 1 mile from the shoreline and was located in about 63 feet of water. All major components of the helicopter were recovered and an oil and fuel sheen was noted on the water by first responders. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the flight controls to the main rotor and tail rotor through multiple overstress fractures. Continuity was confirmed from the throttle to the engine through all push pull tubes. The windscreen, doors, and forward section of the fuselage were fragmented. The instrument console remained attached to the main wreckage through cables and wires. Both seats were impact separated but remained attached to the fuselage by their seatbelts.

All main rotor blades remained attached to the rotor head but were removed to facilitate recovery. The yellow rotor blade exhibited impact damage and was fragmented. The lead/lag damper was not extended. The green rotor blade was impact damaged and the outboard portion of the blade was partially separated. The lead/lag damper was extended about 0.5 centimeters (cm). The red rotor blade was impact damaged and sections of the trailing edge were splayed open. The red lead/lag damper was extended about 4 cm.

The fenestron remained attached to the tailboom. Chordwise scratching was noted on the fenestron housing. All fenestron vanes were bent the opposite direction of travel. The tail rotor rotated freely when the tail rotor drive shaft was rotated by hand. The tail rotor drive shaft was bent and separated from the transmission. Continuity was confirmed from the anti-torque pedals to the tail rotor.

The engine remained attached to the helicopter through two of the three engine mounts and was removed from the airframe for further examination. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed by rotating the scroll assembly by hand. The scroll assembly exhibited impact damage about 1/3 of the circumference. Thumb compression and suction was noted on the Nos. 2, 3, and 4 cylinders. The No. 1 cylinder was removed and examined. When water was placed in the cylinder, the majority of the water leaked through the exhaust valve seat and a minor amount of water leaked through the intake valve seat. 

The carburetor was removed from the engine. Fuel and water were noted in the bowl. The carburetor floats exhibited hydraulic deformation. The accelerator pump operated when the throttle arm was moved by hand. The carburetor fuel inlet screen was removed and no debris was noted. The carburetor gasket was removed and no tears were noted. The carburetor heat door was located in the closed position. The assembly was impact damaged and pushed up onto the carburetor. The automatic carburetor door was tested using a 12V battery. When the wires were connected to the battery, the door operated and moved to an open position. The wires were then moved to the opposite poles of the battery and the carburetor door moved to the closed position.

The oil suction screen was removed and no debris was noted. The oil filter was removed and disassembled. No debris was noted in the filter. The engine driven fuel pump was removed from the engine and it operated when moved by hand. The helicopter was equipped with an electronic and single-conventional magneto ignition system. The magneto was removed from the engine and produced spark on all towers when rotated.

An Electronic Pilot Monitor was removed from the instrument panel and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for further examination. In addition, the passenger’s cell phone was retained and sent to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory for data download.

(Source: NTSB. Images from file)


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PFAS Exposure Testing Closer to Becoming Law

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 06:02

IAFF priority legislation for testing Department of Defense (DoD) fire fighters for PFAS is one step closer to becoming law as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill, advanced by the Senate Armed Services Committee, includes the Protecting Military Firefighters from PFAS Act, introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on behalf of the IAFFearlier this year. The bill directs the DoD to capture PFAS exposures for federal fire fighters through a non-invasive blood test administered as part of routine medical examinations.

Test results could be used to document exposures while also providing medical guidance to fire fighters on PFAS exposure. In addition, information gathered from testing would allow occupational health physicians to better track exposure trends while establishing engineering controls to reduce or prevent future contact with toxic PFAS-laden foams.

“The IAFF is committed to protecting the health and safety of our federal fire fighters who face increased health risks specifically tied to the DoD’s reliance on toxic PFAS-laden foams,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “Inclusion of language directing the DoD to test fire fighters’ blood for the presence of PFAS and prohibiting future purchases of PFAS-laden foams by DoD is a move in the right direction.”

The draft bill also includes a provision prohibiting DoD from procuring new firefighting foam containing PFAS after October 1, 2022.

The NDAA will soon move to the full Senate for consideration. The House of Representatives is also working to draft its own version of the NDAA, and the IAFF has been working to incorporate the Protecting Military Firefighters from PFAS Act in the House bill.

The IAFF and federal sector advocates will continue to push for this important legislative initiative as Congress works to adopt a final NDAA, which is anticipated this fall.

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ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 05:58


The Issue:

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a colorless additive used with diesel engines to reduce emissions. It has mistakenly been added to jet fuel on three occasions over the past 18 months. Presumably, operators have mistaken DEF for fuel system icing inhibitors (FSII), which are also colorless. The latest DEF contamination incident caused engine flameouts at altitude in two Cessna 550 jets, one of which experienced dual-engine flameout resulting in a total engine failure landing at a Savannah, GA airport.

What You Should Do:

Talk with your fuel providers and ask if they use DEF in ground equipment. If so, inquire about procedures to confirm correct additives are used for jet fuel. This should include separate storage, clear labeling, confirmation of correct additives at the time of insertion, and training for personnel.

DEF crystalizes in jet fuel and clogs fuel filters, which can result in fuel starvation. If engine failure occurs due to turbine flameout, be cognizant of the potential for DEF contamination. Follow emergency checklist procedures for engine failure and realize if DEF contamination is the cause, successful restart is unlikely.

If a turbine engine flameout occurs in a multi engine aircraft, follow emergency checklist procedures and expect loss of the remaining engine(s).  Consider preserving altitude for as long as possible to maximize potential of a safe glide to a suitable runway.

If you encounter or suspect any DEF contamination, notify the Fixed Base Operator where fuel was obtained as soon as possible. Document the incident and report it to the local FAA FSDO office immediately.

What You Should Know:

There are no known pre-flight procedures pilots can use to identify the presence of DEF in jet fuel.

An industry working group, which includes AOPA is working to understand causes of contamination and provide recommendations for prevention.

Read AOPA’s article here.

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 05:55

72 Years ago today: On 29 May 1947 a United Air Lines Douglas DC-4 crashed near New York; killing 43 out of 48 occupants.

Date: Thursday 29 May 1947 Time: 19:05 Type: Douglas DC-4 Operator: United Airlines Registration: NC30046 C/n / msn: 18324 First flight: 1944 Total airframe hrs: 5950 Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 4 Passengers: Fatalities: 41 / Occupants: 44 Total: Fatalities: 43 / Occupants: 48 Aircraft damage: Destroyed Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA) (   United States of America) Crash site elevation: 7 m (23 feet) amsl Phase: Takeoff (TOF) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America Destination airport: Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (CLE/KCLE), United States of America Flightnumber: UA521

A Douglas DC-4, operated by United Air Lines, was destroyed in an accident at New York-La Guardia Airport, New York, USA. Five of the 48 occupants survived the accident.
The DC-4, named “Mainliner Lake Tahoe”, was ready for takeoff at 19:04 hours local time. The tower operator asked whether the flight wished to wait out a storm on the ground. The captain answered. “I’ll take off.” The tower then advised the flight: “Cleared for immediate takeoff, or hold; traffic on final approach north of Riker’s Island.” Flight 521 rolled onto runway 18, and accelerated for takeoff immediately. The captain applied back pressure to the control column but the controls felt heavy and the aircraft did not respond. The captain decided to discontinue takeoff.
About 1,000 feet from the south end of the runway he applied brakes, ordering the co-pilot at the same time to cut the engines. A ground-loop was attempted by heavy application of left brake. The aircraft, however, proceeded to roll straight ahead. Then, with both brakes locked it continued over the remainder of the runway, crashed through the fence at the airport boundary, and half-bounced, half-flew across the Grand Central Parkway. The aircraft finally came to rest immediately east of the Casey Jones School of Aeronautics, a distance of 800 feet from the end of runway 18 and 1,700 feet from the point at which brakes were first applied. It was almost immediate enveloped in flames.
Investigation revealed that the guts locks on the plane had been altered, permitting it to remain locked even after removal of the gust lock warning tape

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was either the failure of the pilot to release the gust lock before take-off, or his decision to discontinue the take-off because of apprehension resulting from rapid use of a short runway under a possible calm wind condition.”

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Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 05/29/2019 - 03:23

5/29/1911 a Saint Paul, MN firefighter died while operating at a fire involving a feed store, he was crushed to death when several large bales of hay fell on top of him.

5/29/1925 two Gary, IN firefighters died “while fighting a fire in the Boston Store, a wall collapsed killing both firefighters. The collapse also injured several others.”

5/29/1932 a Woodside, Queens, New York (FDNY) firefighter died after responding “to a call on 38th Street and 31st Avenue, during which time he inhaled a lot of smoke. After they had put out the blaze, he returned to quarters, where hours later he was found dead.”

5/29/1971 four Atlanta, GA firefighters died “while operating cellar pipes on the first-floor at a four-alarm basement fire at the Davis Brothers Cafeteria. The four firefighters were killed, and twenty-four24 others were injured when a massive gas explosion occurred. The four men were killed when they were dropped into the basement of the two-story building by the explosion. After the fire had been knocked down, their bodies were discovered lying under several booths in three feet of water. Of the two dozen men injured, sixteen required emergency surgery, and four were placed in intensive care units.”

5/29/1985 a Chicago, IL died from injuries he received on May 26, 1985, when he was severely injured after he fell off the roof of a two-story apartment building during a fire at 1914 N. Spaulding. He was blinded by smoke and became disoriented. He was taken to St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital, where he died three days later.

5/29/1998 a Berlin, Massachusetts firefighter / fire-inspector died while he was conducting an inspection of a new school that was under construction. At some point during the inspection, he suffered an unwitnessed medical emergency. He was found by construction workers lying prone with a head injury that likely occurred as he fell.

5/29/1985 the Lone Star Ice Plant fire killed four and injured twenty-one in San Antonio, TX that was caused by an ammonia leak.

5/29/1831 the town of Fayetteville, was destroyed by fire.

5/29/1914 the Empress of Ireland collided with the Storstad a Norwegian coal freighter in the St. Lawrence River in Canada that killed 1,073

5/29/1900 Otis Elevator Company registered the trademark “Escalator”.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 05/28/2019 - 16:35

By J.D. Capelouto, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A man was taken into custody over the weekend after a bizarre set of events that started with smoke emanating from his home and ended with him shooting at a door while firefighters were outside, DeKalb County police said.

Treavon Harris, 23, was charged with obstructing or hindering a firefighter by use of threats or violence, after the incident at his apartment about 7:20 p.m. Saturday. Crews responded to a report of a fire at the building on Thicket Way and saw smoke coming out of Harris’ apartment, according to a DeKalb County Police Department incident report.

They knocked on his door and saw him on his balcony, and told him to open his front door, firefighters told investigators. While the firefighters were waiting outside of his door, they said, he “suddenly began shooting through the closed door into the breezeway in their direction.” No one was struck.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Tue, 05/28/2019 - 16:27

CBS News:

New research shows that many drivers are profoundly distracted by their phones when they’re going past first responders working accidents on the roadways. New research from the National Safety Council found 71% of drivers admitted to taking photos and texting while driving by emergency workers; that’s nearly triple the 24% who admitted to doing it under normal driving conditions. Sixty percent admitted to posting to social media; two-thirds have emailed about what they’re driving by.

And the results are increasingly deadly. Sixteen percent of drivers say they’ve struck or nearly struck an emergency vehicle or first responder on the side of the road. Forty first responders were killed on the side of the road last year, up 60% from 2017. And so far this year, 21 have died, including 10 police officers; 14 officers were hit and killed in all of 2018.

“What surprised us most about this study was the magnitude of people who are really exercising very dangerous behavior,” said Kelly Nantel of the National Safety Council. “They’re adding another level of exposure to these first responders.”

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


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