ARFF options

Published:  24 May, 2018

The US Federal Aviation Authority is seeking to allow civilian airports to choose non-fluorinated fire-fighting foam for aircraft rescue and fire fighting.

Currently all airports in the US are required to use only Milspec foams listed by the FAA on a qualified product list, and are unable to move to fluorine-free foams, however good their performance.

The FAA Safety Certification Reform document was introduced by Pennsylvania Representative Bill Shuster in April and passed its second reading in May.

Should the Act be passed into law, the FAA will no longer require that airports only use fluorinated chemicals that meet MIL-F-24385F. Airports will instead be required to follow the latest version of NFPA 403 Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Services at Airports.

NFPA 403 lists the acceptable types of primary agents for ARFF involving hydrocarbon fuels as aqueous film-forming foams, fluoroprotein foam, protein foam and fluorine-free synthetic foam.

The FAA does not have the statutory authority to regulate airports operated by US government agencies, including airports operated by the US Department of Defence.

The FAA is required to implement the new regime within two years of the signing into law of the Act.

Picture caption: Los Angeles Fire Department Crash Rescue Facility at Los Angeles International Airport. (Photo: Philip Pilosian/

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