Remaking ARFF

By Armen DerHohannesian , GM, Armen DerHohannesian & Associates, LLC In looking beyond recent security directives and federal legislation generated by the tragedies of 9/11, airports should also be reevaluating and rethinking the expanded...

The ability for an unimpeded rapid response by EMS to the terminal is enhanced by a properly located facility on landside and within the terminal complex if possible. Other missions could be served from a landside station, such as structural fires and terrorist attacks.

Training and Equipment

Training for first responders, consistent with the OSHA/EPA regulations typically involve the following:
• 40-hour Emergency Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents Course followed by at least an 8-hour refresher course;
• 24-hour training course in weapons of mass destruction and Integrated Emergency Response followed within a certain time frame by an 8-hour refresher course in WMD;
• Annual 8-hour course of Hazardous Material Operations (hazmat first responder); and,
• Baseline medical screening.

While there is the obvious need for first responders to receive the above training, an "awareness" program should be provided to other airport employees.

A list of equipment typically associated with a biochem or WMD event could include ...
• 60-minute SCBA tanks
• Smart Bio Detection Tickets
• Chemical Agent Detection Paper
• Chemical Agent Detector Kit
• Face Mask with Bio/Chem Cartridge
• Radiation ’monitor’ for emergency vehicles
• Radiation "S" pagers
• Level B HazMat Suits "Response Pack"
• Level A Encapsulated Hazmat Suits
• Decontamination System
• Bomb Search Suit with Bio/ Chem Visor
• Charcoal Hoods for Level B Hazmat Suits
• Nerve/Blister Agent Monitor
• Photoionization Device.

About the Author

Armen DerHohannesian has worked with airport planning and design for some 38 years. A consultant since 1975, he specializes in ARFF station planning and design, including aircraft water rescue programs. He is a founder and past president of the Airport Consultants Council and serves as co-chair of the working group tasked with rewriting FAR Part 139, relating to ARFF operations. He can be reached at

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