Palm Beach County's Fire Rescue Aviation Battalion operates out of Fire Station No. 81, located on the secured grounds of Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA). The fire station is staffed with specially trained Aircraft Rescue Firefighters and Firefighter/Paramedics. These dedicated personnel are considered experts in the field of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF). Aviation rescue employees provide professional emergency services for approximately 5.7 million passengers that pass through the "D" Index airport every year. The airport averages over a quarter of a million takeoffs/landings annually.
Aviation rescue personnel respond to a variety of emergencies within PBIA and the surrounding vicinity. Rescue personnel provide full Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic Services to airport passengers and employees. Additionally, rescue personnel provide emergency response to all Fixed-Base General Aviation facilities including hangars, fuel farms, and terminals. Rescue personnel also respond to "off airfield" incidents outside the confines of PBIA. Some of these incidents include structural fires, vehicle fires, transportation and construction accidents, hazardous materials incidents, medical emergencies and other public service calls.
Aviation rescue personnel are required to be highly trained in the use of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles. These specialized vehicles, also known as "Crash Trucks", are designed specifically for aircraft firefighting and have the capability to "pump and roll", allowing firefighters to fight fires while mobilizing to the scene from within the cab of the vehicle. Hyrdaulic controls allow firefighters to direct large streams of water supplied with special firefighting foam directly into the affected aircraft. The trucks carry their own water supply and are equipped with special nozzles attached to the roof called "Turrets" which are designed to deliver high volumes of water from great distances.
A 560,000 square foot modern terminal, county motor-pool facilities, several small-to-medium sized fixed base carriers and commercial property also add to the responsibility of aviation rescue personnel. Ten major airlines use PBIA on a regular basis as well as the various cargo operations serving the area. Palm Beach County's Aviation Rescue personnel response to approximately 1600 calls a year for assistance.