FAA Lacks Sufficient Oversight of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Program

In July 2013, Asiana Flight 214 crashed on final approach into San Francisco International Airport, resulting in three fatalities and drawing attention to the importance of emergency response at US airports. In its report on the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board highlighted safety issues related to the training and staffing of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) personnel and the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA’s) oversight of emergency response services. As a result, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated an audit to assess FAA’s oversight of its ARFF program. While FAA has provided approximately $750 million since 2004 to fund ARFF buildings, facilities, vehicles, and equipment, the audit identified several challenges related to the Agency’s oversight and enforcement in this area. For example, FAA inspectors did not consistently review airports’ compliance with ARFF regulations and policy. FAA has also not sufficiently investigated potentially serious violations of ARFF requirements or reported enforcement data to its own database, as required by FAA policy, in part there is no guidance that clearly delineates when a violation should be investigated. In addition, the Agency either lacks policies regarding key components of the ARFF program—e.g., the review of vehicle maintenance records—or the policies are not robust enough to make them effective. In one case, FAA issued guidance to airports that conflicted with FAA regulations. Finally, FAA’s policies and guidance on ARFF training are voluntary and do not establish required standards for content, length, and methods of teaching. OIG made 10 recommendations to help FAA improve its oversight and enforcement of emergency response services at the Nation’s airports.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Department of Transportation

    Office of Inspector General, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Publication Date: 2016-5-31


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Audit Report
  • Features: Appendices; References;
  • Pagination: 27p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01603569
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: AV-2016-067
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jun 3 2016 10:04AM