Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS)

Information about the provision of airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Services

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) defines Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) requirements in Annex 14, Volume 1 - Aerodrome Design and Operations. This Annex contains the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) adopted by the Council under the provisions of the Convention. In accordance with the provisions of Annex 14, States are required to provide rescue and fire fighting equipment and services at an airport. The purpose of the material in ICAO Document 9137-AN/898, Airport Services Manual, Part 1, Rescue and Fire Fighting is to assist States in the implementation of Annex 14 requirements and thereby help to ensure their uniform application. ICAO review their SARPs through their Rescue and Fire Fighting Working Group (RFFWG).

The United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements related to licensed aerodromes are contained in Civil Aviation Publication (CAP) 168 - Licensing of Aerodromes. In particular, Chapter 8 defines the UK RFFS requirements and Chapter 9 defines the Emergency Planning requirements based on the ICAO SARPs.

Chapter 8 sets out the minimum requirements to be met in the provision of Rescue and Fire Fighting Services at United Kingdom licensed aerodromes. The facilities required by this Chapter have been assessed as being the minimum necessary for flights required by the Air Navigation Order to use a licensed aerodrome. Guidance is also given on equipment, extinguishing agents, personnel, training and emergency procedures. Condition 2 in the Public Use and Ordinary aerodrome licences makes it mandatory for licence holders to provide a minimum Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) appropriate to their aerodrome and as detailed in Chapter 8 of CAP 168.

Chapter 9 sets out the specific requirements to ensure that an aerodrome emergency plan is established at an aerodrome, commensurate with the aircraft operations and other activities at the aerodrome. The plan shall provide for the co-ordination of the actions to be taken in an emergency occurring at an aerodrome or in the vicinity.


Training and competence of RFFS personnel is an important element of the CAA requirements, and in accordance with the requirements set out in CAP 699 - Standards for Competence of Rescue and Firefighting Service Personnel Employed at UK Licensed Aerodromes the licence holder is responsible for the initial selection and continuous assessment of the competence of personnel engaged in operational RFFS duties. All RFF personnel shall be properly trained to perform their duties in an effective and efficient manner and the training facilities shall be commensurate with the type and size of aircraft in use at the aerodrome.

Neil Gray 
Principal Aerodrome Inspector (RFF)
Aerodrome and Air Traffic Standards Division
Civil Aviation Authority
Aviation House
Gatwick Airport South
West Sussex RH6 0YR