Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Southwest Fire Response Issue #1: ARFF Manning

In reviewing the Southwest incident report below, you will notice that the first two units on scene are the ARFF units, ARFF 110 and ARF 112. These yellow fire trucks are specialized for responding to aviation incidents.  See page 2.

The two units are manned 24 hours per day seven days per week at Pensacola Regional Airport.
By two firefighters.
Two trucks, two drivers.

Based on the time logs, the two ARFF units arrived on the scene at 9:30

Acting Bat Chief 1 arrived at 9:41
Engine 2 arrived at 9:41
Engine 3 arrived at 9:36
Engine 6 arrived at 9:40
Ladder 16 arrived at 9:41

So, if this had been an unannounced crash incident, not a radioed ahead emergency landing, for at least 6 minutes after the crash, only two firefighters siting in their vehicles suppressing fire would be onsite with 99 people needing help.

No one to assist passengers.
No one to approach the aircraft.
Just two firefighters.
One in each truck.
Spraying water.


Then when Engine 3 arrives, they get off of their engine to man another ARFF engine.

At this point manpower is up to a total of 5 firefighters.

Boeing 737 with 99 people on board crashes (hypothetically).

First 6 minutes, two firefighters sitting inside two ARFF trucks.
Minutes 6-11, five firefighters on scene
Not until 11 minutes after the crash are 15 firefighters onsite.

Remember this fact the next time you are landing at Ashton Hayward's airport.  He is so concerned about your safety that he has two whole firefighters standing by if something happens.

Feeling safer now about Ashton Hayward's airport?

Incident Report


Anonymous said...

So, for the critical first 6 minutes on the scene, could the two firefighters present even leave their vehicles? Could they assist victims on the ground if they were evacuating the plane? With the 2 in/2 out rule, I think they would potentially have to literally sit in their vehicle and watch a tragedy unfold right in front of them. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! The fire department is obviously responding in body recovery mode. There is no way that they are responding to "rescue" anybody of this is accurate. The fire chief needs to weigh in on this pronto!

Anonymous said...

Well, what do you expect for cheaper fares? Oops, Nevermind...

So we get higher air fare in exchange for less safety? I guess this is just another one of those great "wins" Hayward's always bragging about in the "Upside" of Florida.

Rick Simmons said...

The Fire Dept fought this reduction of manpower tooth and nail. The airport director, at the time, went to the mayor and city council with flawed statistics about the ARFF manning. We tried very hard to get them to understand one person on each unit was not safe. So, if you think the fire dept had anything to do with the reduction, you'd be wrong.

Maren DeWeese said...


I agree with your comments but...

This incident happened on David Allen's watch. If you look at the questions I asked him, I asked:

any changes based on the incident?

David Allen responded through Vernon Stewart "No Comment"

Therefore the PFD leadership owns the issue now.

That is David Allen Leadership to date... RUN AND HIDE


Anonymous said...

What happens if the FAA learns this information?
How can they allow the airport to operate in this manner?

Anonymous said...

"Public safety is my number one priority".
- Ashton Hayward

LMBO! If public safety is truly his number one priority as he has stated publicly on numerous occasions, it doesn't bode well for priority number two, three, or four.

What happened to all of the holding hands around the campfire, singing Kumbya. and man hugging between the mayor and the fire fighters when they got their new chief? Honeymoon over already?

It's interesting that the overtime budget for the fire department has skyrocketed yet there is inadequate fire protection at one of the City's major enterprises where safety is critical.

Maren, do you know if the fire chief at least addressed this issue in the FY 2017 budget?