The National Academies

ACRP 11-02/Task 17 [Final]

Risk Assessment of Proposed ARFF Standards
[ ACRP 11-02 (Quick Response for Special Needs) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $90,000
Research Agency: Robert E David & Associates
Principal Investigator: Robert E David
Effective Date: 3/16/2010
Completion Date: 11/15/2010

Changes in aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) requirements at airports are currently under consideration.   To date, discussion has centered on “voluntary consensus standards” promulgated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), although there are related International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards as well.  The practical effects of a change to these standards could include (1) an increase in ARFF staffing, (2) a reduction in ARFF response times, (3) increases in the airport area that must be served within the response time, and (4) increases in ARFF equipment. Airport operators, ARFF professionals, and others need a fuller understanding of each of these potential effects, as well as the potential safety effects of the proposed changes.  ACRP’s Web-Only Document 7: How Proposed ARFF Standards Would Impact Airports (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/acrp/acrp_webdoc_007.pdf.) describes current NFPA and ICAO standards for ARFF at airports. This research  examined the cost implications if airports adopted these standards. To assess potential benefits, the researchers analyzed 10 years’ of accident data and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports to estimate whether or not, if the proposed standards had been implemented previously, there would likely have been a change in survivability.  
As a result of the information presented in ACRP Web-Only Document 7, airport practitioners have requested an in-depth examination of the NFPA and ICAO standards. This research will expand the analysis of historical accident data within the context of specific NFPA and ICAO changes to ARFF staffing, reduction in ARFF response time, increase in the airport area to be served within the response time, and increase in ARFF equipment. Specifically, the question is: to what extent could adopting ICAO or NFPA ARFF standards be expected to mitigate risks and accident fatalities at airports?  
The objective of this study is to analyze the extent to which NFPA and ICAO ARFF standards beyond FAR Part 139 requirements may be expected to reduce fatalities and/or mitigate serious injuries associated with aircraft accidents on or directly adjacent to airport property. 
(1). Review data and research upon which relevant ICAO, NFPA, and FAR Part 139 ARFF standards and recommended practices are based. (2). Review safety studies and analyses that have been previously conducted that relate to reducing fatalities and/or mitigating serious injuries associated with aircraft accidents on or directly adjacent to airport property. Identify relevant changes in aircraft design and certification standards, fire-related aircraft certification and evacuation standards, advances and changes in aircraft firefighting capabilities, and ARFF mission and response strategies. (3). Review aircraft accident history at commercial service airports both domestically and internationally. Map accident locations relative to runways and airports.(4). Provide a working paper summarizing Tasks 1 through 3 and identify gaps in research that will be necessary to meet the project objective. Develop a detailed plan for a safety risk analysis using data collected in Tasks 1 through 3. The analysis should address, at a minimum, the risk assessment of changing the following elements of the ARFF requirements: (1) ARFF staffing, (2) ARFF mission and response strategies, (3) ARFF response times, (4) ARFF response area, (5) ARFF equipment requirements, and (6) ARFF training requirements and their impact on risk reduction. (5). Execute the approved Task 4 plan. (6). Provide a final report of the findings and conclusions, as well as a documentary of the research process. Explain assumptions and justifications for any conclusions. Include as an appendix the data that was used in Tasks 1 through 5.

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