ARFFs aren’t what they used to be

Posted by Glyn Richards, on September 17, 2020

Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) trucks aren’t what they used to be. They have changed in response to the rise of modern aviation. It is a story of adapting to a new reality. 

Ritch Spires knows this adaptation first hand. Literally, he’s had his hands on the trucks. Before joining Brindlee as Vice President of Technical Services, Ritch worked for E-One, one of the largest manufacturers of ARFFs in the world. Starting in Quality Assurance, he later was involved with the company’s refurbishment program, putting him up close and personal with every brand of ARFF truck. From there he moved into Sales, serving the commercial airport and foreign military customers in the international markets. Ritch explains how we got to the sophisticated apparatus that is today’s ARFF.

In the early years of commercial aviation, there was no such thing as an ARFF. Municipal fire trucks served the purpose. As aviation grew, the need for a dedicated piece of equipment became clear. In 1953, the first ARFF was delivered to the US Coast Guard.  Since then, ARFFs have become bigger, faster, safer, and more versatile. Today’s ARFFs carry more water, deliver multiple extinguishing agents, and many are equipped with High Reach Extendable Turrets able to throw an elevated stream from a distance. Advanced capabilities come from innovations like electronic controls, single powerful engines, independent suspension, structural pump panels, and ample space for rescue tools.

In contrast to commercial aviation, military ARFFs have adapted to their own unique mission. In fact, each branch of the military defines its own specifications around specific needs. For example, some ARFFs are air-transportable, able to be redeployed anywhere in the world.

Adapting to change:  that’s the story of ARFF evolution. Are you adapting to the changes around you?

Bring your ARFF fleet up to date. Contact BMFA for help.  


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