Alan M. Petrillo
Makers of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) apparatus are continually improving their equipment, upgrading their units’ ease of use, adding safety features and turrets, increasing fire suppression capabilities, and making more nimble vehicles.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) developed ARFF vehicle requirements (Class 1 through 5) using National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 414, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Vehicles, as its baseline, as well as an airport index the FAA uses to rate airports by the length of aircraft using the airport (Index A through E).
Index A includes aircraft less than 90 feet long; Index B, 90 feet but less than 126 feet; Index C, 126 feet but less than 159 feet; Index D, 159 feet but less than 200 feet; and Index E, aircraft at least 200 feet in length.
A Class 1 four-wheel drive diesel ARFF vehicle must carry 100 gallons of water/aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) and 500 pounds of sodium-based or 450 pounds of potassium-based dry chemical, or 460 pounds of halogenated agent. Class 2 ARFF units must carry 300 gallons of water/AFFF and the same dry chem complement required as Class 1. Class 3 ARFF vehicles must carry 500 gallons of water/AFFF and class 1 dry chem requirements.