There is so little difference in the heat of
combustion of the various aircraft hydrocarbon fuels
that the severity after ignition would be of no
significance from the "fire safety" point of view. The
fire-fighting and control measures are the same for the
entire group of aviation hydrocarbon fuels.
Oxygen systems on aircraft can present hazardous
conditions to fire fighters during an emergency. Liquid
oxygen is a light blue liquid that flows like water and is
extremely cold. It boils into gaseous oxygen at -297°F
(-147°C) and has an expansion rate of approximately
860 to 1. Liquid oxygen is a strong oxidizer, and
although it is nonflammable, it vigorously supports
During aircraft fire-fighting operations personnel
are constantly in harms way, from the actual
fire-fighting operations to the salvage and clean-up
operations. All components and material in or on the
aircraft are considered hazardous to personnel. The
following text discusses a few of the hazards that
personnel need to be familiar with.
Anti-icing fluids are usually a mixture of about
85-percent alcohol and 15-percent glycerin. While not
as great as other aircraft hazards, you should remember
that alcohol used in aircraft anti-icing systems burns
with an almost invisible flame. The best method of
control is by dilution with water.
Class A Combustibles
Class A combustibles in aircraft fires are best
extinguished with AFFF. When aircraft cockpit and
interior finish materials are burned or charred, they
produce toxic gases. These gases include carbon
monoxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen cyanide.
Therefore, it is necessary that fire-fighting and rescue
personnel who enter an aircraft during a fire sequence
be equipped with a self-contained breathing apparatus.
Naval aircraft carry a wide variety of ordnance in
information on the characteristics and cook-off times of
ordnance, refer to chapter 8 of this manual and
NATOPS, U.S. Navy Aircraft Firefighting and Rescue
Manual, NAVAIR 00-80R-14, chapter 2.
The SUU-44/SUU-25 flare dispensers carry eight
Mk 45 or LUU-2 paraflares. When the flares are ejected
from the dispenser and the tray separates, they must be
considered fully armed. Once the tray separates from
the flare, it ignites a fuse on the Mk 45 flare, which will
fire within 5 to 30 seconds. The LUU-2 flare uses a
simple mechanical timer instead of an explosive fuse. If
ignited, the Mk 45 or LUU-2 candle should be
extinguished by inserting a water applicator tip into the
burning end of the candle, applying low-velocity fog.
The flare will normally extinguish in less than 30
seconds. If a fog applicator is not readily available, an
alternate method is to have a fully outfitted fire fighter
cut the shroud lines, pick up the flare by the cold end,
jettison it over the side, or remove it to a clear area if
Alkaline or nickel-cadmium batteries may get hot
from internal shorting or thermal runaway.
overheated battery is hazardous to both aircraft and
personnel. When an overheated battery is detected, the
crash crew should open the battery compartment, check
for the following conditions, and take the action
extinguishing agent, such as Halon 1211 or CO2.
Halon 1211 or CO2
is an acceptable
developed. CO2 must not be directed into a
battery compartment to effect cooling or to
generated by the discharge of the extinguisher
could explode hydrogen or oxygen gases trapped
in the battery compartment.
When the battery is emitting smoke, fumes, or
electrolyte in the absence of flame or fire, make sure the
battery switch in the cockpit is in the OFF position.
Remove the quick disconnect from the battery and, if
possible, move the battery clear of the aircraft. Use
water fog to lower the battery temperature.