To provide quick response to aircraft related emergencies.
The Tucson Airport Authority Fire Department works around the clock to ensure safety at Tucson International Airport and Ryan Airfield. The Department's skill, training, and equipment are state-of-the-art, and include property and life-saving expertise in many important ways.
The department protects more than 200 buildings distributed across 10,000 acres. Fire fighters respond to the many emergencies that regularly occur on airport property including basic life support, car accidents, pedestrian falls, and other situations that demand immediate medical attention. The Fire Prevention Program is responsible for the following areas: building inspections, fueling procedures, OSHA, confined space, prevention activities, pre-fire plans, safety officer duties, and special projects.
The Fire Department is equipped to handle any emergency quickly and professionally. TAA fire fighters receive on-going training. All department members are required to keep current with aircraft in service at TIA and attend Aircraft Crash Management and Homeland Defense courses. Seminars on disaster planning and building and aircraft evacuation are regular components of training.
Staff specialization in different areas of fire fighting and rescue techniques, combined with the commitment to work together as a team, results in a uniquely qualified department. In house instructors teach classes in emergency medical services which include Automated External Defibrillator (AED), CPR, hazardous materials, specialized rope rescue, confined space, and aircraft and automobile extrication.
Each fire fighter is an Arizona Certified Fire Fighter I and II, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), hazardous materials technician, and all are certified at the first Responder Operations Level. To stay current with the latest developments in fire fighting, department members take courses at the nationally recognized Ansul Fire School in Wisconsin, the National Foam School at Texas A&M University, and Arizona State Fire Marshal School.
In any incident involving an aircraft, a quick response time can mean the difference between a minor mishap and major disaster. For this reason, the Fire Department must reach and attack a fire within three minutes as required under the regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Constant readiness and specialized equipment for aircraft fire fighting are essential. Because a downed aircraft may not be near a water supply, TAA fire trucks carry their own water supply.
The 6x6 wheel drive crash truck is the largest of the fleet vehicles and can hold, deliver, and discharge 3,000 gallons of water and fire fighting chemicals. Like department members, each vehicle has its own specialty. Some are used for quick attack on aircraft fires and some totally extinguish a fire in a minimal time.
Other vehicles are dedicated to structural fires and emergency medical response. A disaster response vehicle holds a huge variety of medical supplies and can serve as a mobile triage center ready to respond to any type of disaster in the Tucson area. A hazardous materials recovery truck and trailer is designed for the safety of fire fighters, the public, and the environment.
The TAA Fire Department utilizes the Incident Command System to make sure that life saving decisions are made in a quick and orderly fashion.
Should an accident occur, the first officer to arrive at the site takes command and is authorized to make necessary decisions. This officer does not relinquish that command until a higher-ranking officer arrives. Fire fighters can act during those first critical minutes, when higher authorities may not have arrived at the scene.
Naturally, at times other resources for backup will be needed. The department participates in multi-agency disaster drills and has engaged in mutual aid agreements with the Tucson Fire Department, the Arizona Air National Guard, and Drexel Heights Fire Department. These agencies have practiced their responses to aircraft incidents and have agreed to provide all necessary assistance in the event of a calamity. They also receive continuing education from the TAA Fire Department in regards to airport operations.