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Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF)

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Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF)


The Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport was constructed in 1941 as an auxiliary landing field to train Naval Aviators during World War II. At that time the airport was called West Prospect Field and had only one hangar.

In 1959 the City of Fort Lauderdale City Commission Resolution No. 7336 changed the airport’s name to “Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport”. Over the following decades and as business development boomed in Fort Lauderdale, that first hangar grew to over 450 hangars and more than 700 aircraft, including 115 jets and 37 helicopters.

TR53In response to the growing number of surrounding developments and the increasing number of airport operations, the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue along with the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, established the first special operations team, “The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting” (ARFF) team.” The ARFF team is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Although assigned to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, the ARFF team has quickly responded with mutual aid in other jurisdictions in South Florida.

All ARFF team members are trained in the operation of the department’s specialized ARFF apparatus. The ARFF truck carries 1500 gallons of water, foam and Haltron (eco-friendly clean agent), and thermal imaging equipment. These vehicles have pump and roll capabilities that help our team members get close to the crash in a safe manner.


Team members need to be well versed on airport familiarization including signs, markings, lighting, control tower language, runway operations aircraft familiarization, cargo hazardous’ (including hazardous material/dangers goods incident). Members are also trained in the donning of special proximity suits that protect them from the radiant heat of the burning of jet fuel. Once these suits are donned, the team can advance on foot to the apparatus to perform a search and rescue, followed by administering medical treatment.

Pilots flying into “Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport” have a sense of security knowing that the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue ARFF team is here and ready to respond to their “MAY DAY” radio call for help