Aviation Pros November 13, 2017
City of San José leaders gathered Nov. 13, at Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) Fire Station 20 to dedicate two new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles and demonstrate the continued and elevated safety focus for airplanes and onboard passengers.
San José Council Member Raul Peralez joined with Fire Department Chief Curtis Jacobson and Director of Aviation John Aitken to formally accept two new vehicles into the ARFF fleet and to demonstrate the state-of-the-art trucks' emergency response capabilities.
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren's (D-San José) leadership allowed SJC staff to secure two grants in the amounts of $698,387 and $575,642, awarded in July 2016 and July 2017, respectively, from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The $1.3 million in Federal grants enabled SJC to purchase the vehicles. Accelerating the funding over two consecutive fiscal periods created cost efficiencies in purchasing the two vehicles together from manufacturer Oshkosh Airport Products.
The two new yellow-green ARFF vehicles, named 20A and 20B, replace trucks that are approaching 20 years of service. With SJC airlines adding larger aircraft combined with more flight frequency, FAA regulations required an increase in the number of on-Airport firefighting personnel and corresponding response vehicles. Under federal guidelines, SJC now meets 14 CFR 139.317 Index D for rescue and firefighting equipment and water and foam agents.
“I greatly appreciate Congresswoman Lofgren and her team for their ongoing support of and advocacy for Mineta San José International Airport throughout her decades in office," said Peralez. “Securing these significant grants allows Silicon Valley's airport to offer the highest levels of traveler safety while meeting federal regulations at our growing airport."
Guests and media attending the commissioning event were given an up-close demonstration of the fire trucks' state-of-the art capabilities in responding to on-airport aircraft emergencies.
The city fire department's Jacobson highlighted the trucks' improved safety, protection and comfort for fire personnel. He also showed how the innovative vehicles elevate SJC's emergency response plan.
"The ongoing investment in our ARFF program instills pride for our firefighters and all who support this important program," commented Jacobson.
Aitken thanked the many SJC partners – federal, city, airport and airlines – responsible for the acquisition of the new ARFF vehicles. "We are in good company with the excellent partnership we have developed with the San José Fire Department for the initial response to on-Airport emergencies, he said.
"Mutual aid off-Airport emergency personnel, equipment and other resources from both San José Fire and other neighboring cities and agencies are also key partners in our successful emergency response plan," Aitken continued.
The total cost of the two new ARFF vehicles, including purchase, inspections and training, is $1.6 million. Federal grants covered 80 percent with airport operating funds paying for 20 percent.