Advisory Document 343 complementing regulations and standards respecting Aircraft Fire Fighting at Airports and Aerodromes

See also Subpart 303 and Standard 323

Table of contents

  • Foreword
  • 343.01 - Interpretation
  • 343.04 - Hours of Operation of an Aircraft Fire-fighting Service
  • 343.06 - Aircraft Movement Statistics
  • 343.08 - Extinguishing Agents and Equipment
  • 343.10 - Temporary Exemption
  • 343.12 - Adjustment to Higher Requirements
  • 343.13 - Minimum Personnel
  • 343.14 - Training of Personnel
  • 343.16 - Firefighting Qualifications
  • 343.18 - Response Test
  • 343.19 - Communication and Alerting System


This advisory information provides guidance material for acceptable means, but not the only means, of demonstrating compliance with the requirements of Subpart 303 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), dealing with Aircraft Fire Fighting (AFF). It also contains supplemental guidance information related to the subject.

For ease of cross-reference, the divisions and numbers of the Advisory Document are assigned to correspond to the standards and regulations. For example, Section 343.08 of the CARs (Advisory Document) would reflect information relating to Section 323.08 or Section 303.08 of the CARs.

343.01  Interpretation

The following terms may be used by fire-fighters while conducting Aircraft Fire Fighting (AFF) services.

AFF training organization” means an organization recognized by Transport Canada including:

  • (a) an airport/aerodrome publishing  in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) which has a designated trained person on staff; or

  • (b) an  training establishment accredited by federal, provincial or territorial governments or International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).

"Assigned position” means the location where the  vehicles and staff are normally stationed during flight operations, which is normally the fire station.

“Designated training person” means a person who:

  • (a) has a training certificate in instructional training techniques;

  • (b) has certification in the subject matter issued by an  training organization; and

  • (c) is accountable to the  training organization to maintain records and endorse competency certificates.

343.04  Hours of Operation of an Aircraft Fire-fighting Service

  • (1) The air operators that are consulted are those referred to in the document as commercial passenger-carrying operators.

  • (2) The established hours of operation will be published. The term PNR can only be used to identify service availability outside those published hours.

  • NOTE: PNR can not be solely published.

343.06   Aircraft Movement Statistics

  • (1) Statistics should include:

    • (a) types of aircraft landing and taking off; and

    • (b) time of day.

343.08   Extinguishing Agents and Equipment

(7) Complementary Agents

The following methodology should be applied by the airports for the annual testing of the Aircraft Fire Fighting equipment that dispense the complementary agent required for systems used to meet complementary agents requirements stipulated in Section 303.09 of the CARs.

  • (a) This procedure provides a testing methodology to facilitate the annual test without undue burden on the individual airports carrying out the test. Performance should be within the manufacturer’s specification for the tested equipment. Airports should record and maintain results of the test on file for each fire fighting outlet tested.

  • (b) This procedure is applicable to systems designed for the application of potassium bicarbonate meeting CAN-ULC S514 Standard used to meet regulated complementary agents requirements at airports and aerodromes.
    NOTE: The material to be used as reference should be as follows:

    • (i) National Fire Protection Association ( NFPA) Standard 414;

    • (ii) Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada ( ULC) Standard 514 and 508-90.

  • (c) The results of three elements tested (agent flow rate, effective reach and system pressure lost) should be compared to previous tests of the same system, or to test of similar systems, and with manufacturer’s data to ensure that the level of performance and effectiveness have not degraded.

    • (i) This test procedure does not have the accuracy of the acceptance criteria of a new system. Tolerances of plus or minus 10% are deemed acceptable. Effective reach should be as per the NFPA Standards.

    • (ii) The 10% flow rate tolerance is calculated from the manufacturer’s specified flow rates; i.e. - a nozzle specified for a flow of 3.5 KG per second should have an actual discharge between 3.15 KG per second and 3.85 KG per second (3.5 KG plus or minus 0.35 KG). For turret reach, the NFPA standard requires that the agent reach 100 feet, but there is no requirement for effectiveness testing. If during the effective reach test, a turret cannot effectively extinguish the fire at 25 meters, records should be kept on how far the agents were reaching.

    • (iii) The third item, low pressure leaks system, should be evaluated not to affect system effectiveness during a reasonable period of wait with the system charged. Ideally no leakage should occur.

  • (d) The required equipment should be as follows:

    • (i) measuring tape;

    • (ii) stop watch;

    • (iii) flammable liquid;

    • (iv) 10 metal containers approximately 280 mm in diameter by 76 mm high
      (11 X 3 inches);

    • (v) graph paper, pad and pencil;

    • (vi) test report sheets; and

    • (vii) calibrated anemometer, if weather information for the test site is not available.

  • (e) The following information should be recorded for each fire-fighting outlets tested:

    • (i) vehicle identification (brand, type, capacity, airport designation);

    • (ii) serial number of truck mounted dry chemical pressure vessel;

    • (iii) provincial/territorial pressure vessel approval number;

    • (iv) date of last provincial/territorial pressure vessel inspection;

    • (v) type and brand of agent, batch and specification numbers;

    • (vi) date of test;

    • (vii) temperature (if the outside temperature is different than the system temperature, it should be noted);

    • (viii) wind velocity and weather observations;

    • (ix) wind direction in relation to nozzle/turret;

    • (x) dry chemical flow rate as tested and as per manufacturer’s specifications;

    • (xi) dry chemical effective reach of stream; and

    • (xii) pressure lost in KPA minutes or note if there is no loss.
      NOTE: If the net weight of an agent is not recorded on the containers, the net weight of an agent should be calculated by weighing a full container and comparing the weight with that of an empty container.

  • (f) Test procedures:

    • (i) General

      • A thorough inspection of system components (hoses, nozzles, reels, valves etc.) should be conducted to ensure that the system is safe, functional and that the dry chemical container is filled to the recommended level.

      • (A) Test facilities consist of a level open site suitable for discharging the dry chemical agents and of sufficient size for discharging measuring ranges.

      • (B) Temperature should be within the operating range of the equipment tested, wind conditions should be less than 8 kph.

      • (C) The test is to be conducted after the dry chemical container has been emptied and recharged with the exact quantity of agent recommended by the manufacturer and visual record of dry chemical level in the vessel. This will allow for a better comparison when calculating the agent usage. A more accurate testing would require removal of the dry chemical vessel for weighing.


    The persons conducting the test should be wearing protective clothing as the handling and burning of flammable liquid dictates.

  • (ii) Specific

    • (A)
    • CAUTION: For hose reel, pull all the hose off to ensure that agent will not be obstructed

    • (B) Based on the manufacturer’s discharge specifications, estimate the discharge time for the specific outlet tested to discharge between 50 to 70 percent of the total dry chemical capacity.
    • (C) Position the first container at the centre of the estimated reach of the selected outlet when the wind is parallel to the axis of the nozzle stream. Position the nine other containers in the same axis distanced equally three metres from each other. The nearest container should be at 15 meters from roof turrets and at five meters from handlines nozzles. All metal containers should be on secure stands raising the top of the containers (fire level) to at least 1 meter from the ground.
    • (D) Clearly mark where the nozzle/turret end will be positioned during discharge.
    • (E) Fill metal containers to within 25 mm of top with water.
    • (F) Pressurize the system using the manufacturer’s recommended procedure. Do not open the nozzle to allow filling the hose as this would lower the level of agent in the vessel, consequently, making it more difficult to calculate agent replacement.
    • (G) Place approximately 13 mm of flammable liquid in the metal containers and ignite.
    • (H) Discharge with nozzle/turret fully open without interruption for the time estimated in (b) (calculated 50-70%) while attempting to extinguish the fires in the metal containers. The nozzle discharge should be aimed at or in front of the first container with no vertical movements allowed.
    • (I) Close discharge valve at the time calculated in clause 343.08(7)(f)(ii)(b).
    • (J) Leave system pressurized for at least 30 minutes to monitor low and high pressure loss. The pressure should stabilise and remain constant for this period. If a leak is found, the system must be verified and repaired.
    • (K) Record pressures at regular intervals of five minutes.
    • (L) Record the distance of the effective reach. The last container of burning liquid extinguished starting from the closest distance in sequence and without miss is used for this purpose. (A container of burning liquid extinguished further to one still burning is not considered.) The following example will further illustrate this procedure.
    • EXAMPLE:
    • The following are two types of tests that may be used.
    • Test 1 - Testing the turret on the vehicle:
    • (reach of stream is 30m)
    • * The first container is 15 meters (half the estimated reach of stream of the turret) from the turret.
    • * The rest are spaced equally 3 meters apart from each other.
    • * All containers (with the top of the containers raised to at least 1 meter from the ground) contain water and 13mm ignited fuel on top.
    • * Extinguishment is commenced to determine the reach of stream.
    • * The last container extinguished in sequence starting from the first determines the reach of stream.
    • NOTE: If the first seven fires are extinguished, number 8 is still burning and number 9 is extinguished, the seventh determines the effective reach of stream; which would give you an estimated reach of stream of 33 meters.
    • Test 2 Testing the handline on the vehicle:
    • (reach of stream is 15 m)
    • * Utilize the same test method as above for the turret, only in this case the first or nearest container is 5m, as opposed to 15m in Test 1 (previous test).
    • (amended 2001/06/01)
    • (M) Vent the system using manufacturer’s instruction without expelling agent.
    • (N) Open the dry chemical vessel and refill carefully to the same level calculating how many KG’s of dry chemical are required to refill.
    • (O) Record the dry chemical flow rate using the following formula:
    • KG of dry chemical for refill = nozzle flow rate in KG per seconds
    • Time in seconds
    • (P)
    • CAUTION: Where the system has not been purged of contaminants it may be necessary to let the agent settle and complete a full blow off procedure with clear Nitrogen.
    • (g) The airport operator should ensure that nitrogen cylinders are of the approved type and that they are tested and handled as per applicable provincial and federal standards.

343.10   Temporary Exemption

  • (2) The plan submitted by the airport operator should include at least the following:
    • (a) a description of the problem;
    • (b) a description of actions taken to attain accepted performance;
    • (c) a description of immediate actions taken to correct;
    • (d) a description of long-term measures to prevent reoccurrence; and
    • (e) anticipated dates of outage.

343.12   Adjustment to Higher Requirements

  • (1) Notwithstanding the allowance in the regulation for having up to one year to adjust to higher requirements, airport operators are expected to make the adjustment as soon as operationally feasible.
  • (2) Suggest statistics be established from December 01 to June 01 to coincide with the implementation of the regulation.

343.13   Minimum Personnel

  • (1) Airport operators may require that trained aircraft fire-fighting personnel be assigned other duties at the airport, however, those trained firefighters should be:
    • (a) in the state of readiness and in response posture at all times during the published hours of operation aimed at meeting the response time; and
    • (b) the response readiness of all the other fire-fighting staff and vehicles should be aimed at ensuring the quick arrival of the complete fire-fighting capability required by the Table associated with Section 303.09 of the CARs.
  • (2) The numbers of required firefighters can be exceeded by fire-fighting recruits, however they should be identified as such and the numbers should not exceed that of responding firefighters.

343.14   Training of Personnel

The following terms may be used during the course of training:
“Incident Commander” means the individual responsible for the management of all incident operations.

“Optimum surface and visibility conditions” means daytime, good visibility, no precipitation, with normal response route free of surface contamination. Examples of surface contamination are water, ice or snow.

“Size-up” means a systematic process consisting of the rapid, yet deliberate, consideration of all critical fire ground factors and leads to the development of a rational attack plan based on these factors.

“Strategy” means the general overall approach of the operation and drives that attack plan.

“Strategic Plan (Defensive)” means a plan used when fire conditions prevent an interior attack.  i.e. - large exterior fire streams will be placed between the fire and the exposures to prevent fire extension.

“Strategic Plan (Offensive)” means a plan used when fire conditions will allow an interior attack.  i.e. - hand lines are extended into the fire area to support the primary search and to control the fire.

“Tactical Priorities” means the objectives that should govern action on the fire ground which are egress assistance, fire control, and property conservation.
(amended 2000/06/01)

(2)Level of Achievement to be Attained



(J) Standard hand signals used to communicate information to an aircraft in a situation of emergency in the event of a discreet radio frequency failure.
(amended 2001/06/01)

Emergency hand signals are given to the flight crew by the firefighter assigned those duties. For the purpose of communicating manually with the flight crew of an aircraft in a situation of emergency, the emergency hand signals should be given from the left front side of the aircraft. In circumstances where more effective communications with the flight crew or flight attendant(s) are required, emergency hand signals may be given, from other locations.
(amended 2001/06/01)

  • (1) Notwithstanding the allowance in the regulation for having up to one year to adjust to higher requirements, airport operators are expected to make the adjustment as soon as operationally feasible.

  • (2) Suggest statistics be established from December 01 to June 01 to coincide with the implementation of the regulation.

1. Recommend Evacuation

Arm extended from body, and held horizontal with hand upraised at eye level. Execute beckoning arm motion angled backward. Non beckoning arm held against body.
Night: Same with wands

2. Recommend Stop (halt evacuation or measure in process)

Arms in front of head crossed at wrists
Night: Same with wands

3. Emergency Contained (No evidence of dangerous condition)

Arms extended outward and down at a 45 degree angle. Arms moved inward below waistline simultaneously until wrists crossed, then extended outward to starting position. (Umpire’s “safe” signal)
Night: Same with wands
  • (a) Site Specific Training

    • (ii) It is the airport operator’s responsibility to keep and maintain their aircraft data up to date. Crash charts are available from various sources (i.e. NFPA, Aircraft Manufacturer’s, Airline etc.).

  • (3) Additional Training

  • (b) Command and Control Training

  • This Section provides information relative to the qualifications of fire-fighting personnel, specifically on the documentation which constitutes an acceptable level of achievement.

    • (i) Procedures for the evaluation of AFF personnel training are not specified in the Standard, due to the fact that an Airport Operator regulated under Subpart 303 of the  CARs is legally bound to ensure that the training provided to all  personnel is in accordance with the requirements specified in the standards.

    • (ii) The procedures outlined in this section should be applied by airports or aerodromes to document individual training records of the designated  personnel.

    • (iii) The National Fire Protection Association (NFPAabbr>) Standards 1001, 1003 and NFPA Draft Standard 405 should be used as reference material for this section.

    • (iv) The validation of firefighter qualifications should be conducted as follows:

      • (A) Knowledge and Skills training

      • Site specific training and additional training, where applicable, a firefighter is deemed to have met the generic training requirements set out in Section 303.14 of the CARs if he/she is employed by an aerodrome/airport publishing an  service and that the airport/aerodrome operator possesses in the employee’s file the following records:

        • (I) certificate or diploma issued by an  training organization attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards;

        • (II) certificate issued by an airport training organization attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards; or

        • (III) a combination of certificates issued by various  training organizations attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards.

      • (B) Recurrent Training

      • A firefighter is deemed to have met the recurrent training requirements of Section 303.14 of the CARs if the firefighter is employed by an aerodrome or airport publishing an  service and the airport/aerodrome operator has in the employee’s file the following records:

        • (I) endorsed records authenticating that training in each applicable element of Section 323.14 of the CARs, except for subparagraph 323.14(2)(a)(xi), has been satisfactorily completed in the last 36 months training cycle period; and

        • (II) endorsed records authenticating that a live fire drill such as described in paragraph 323.14(4)(b) has been satisfactorily completed in the last 12 months live fire drill training cycle period.

343.16   Firefighter Qualifications

In addition to the ongoing training record requirements individual firefighter records should contain proof of all of the essential training received. This should be in the form of:

  • (1) a certificate or diploma issued by an AFF training organization attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards;

  • (2) a certificate issued by an airport training organization attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards; or

  • (3) a combination of certificates issued by various  training organization attesting that the individual has attained the requisite level of achievement stipulated in the standards.

343.18   Response Test


Response time is considered to be the time between the initial call to the , and the time when the first vehicle(s) is/are at the selected location to apply fire-fighting agents at a rate of at least 50% of the discharge rate specified in CAR 303.09.

All vehicles must be in a response posture and capable of meeting the three minute response time. However, for test purposes, we ask only for the first vehicle to demonstrate compliance. The other(s) may be required to demonstrate that they can meet the response time if it is suspected they cannot meet the response time.

Any other  vehicle which is employed to meet the total requirement, capacity and discharge, should arrive to the selected location no more than one minute after the first responding vehicle to apply the quantities of fire-fighting agents at the required discharge rates specified in CAR 303.09. If the response test does not include all  vehicles as a minimum, the other  vehicle(s) discharge and operating capabilities should be tested and recorded to fully satisfy the requirement of paragraph 303.18.(4)(b).

  • (1) The performance requirement stipulated contains two elements:

  • The time for the vehicle(s) to travel to the midpoint of the farthest runway serving commercial passenger-carrying aircraft and; the discharge capability of this vehicle or of the combination of the required vehicles, which is an important element of the effectiveness of the response. A flow test of each responding  vehicle should be conducted to ensure that the required discharge rates are adequate to meet the CAR 303.09 discharge capacity requirements.

  • (2) Recommended Test Procedures (vehicle(s) response)

    • (a) The equipment required is a stopwatch.

    • (b) The evaluator (timer) should:

      • (i) be located in a position to monitor the respective phase of the test. The evaluator should be in/at fire-hall for the first phase of the test;

      • (ii) either be in a position to see /hear both the alarm and the arrival (to a full stop) of the vehicle being tested, for the second phase;

      • (iii) either be mobile or in a position to observe the total test if one continuous time is being proposed.

    • (c) The following two types of testing may be used:

      • (i) a one phase test commences when the time is measured from the initiation of alarm in the fire-hall, with  staff in the stand down position, and ends when the vehicle being tested comes to a complete stop and commence water discharge at the midpoint of the farthest runway from initiation of the alarm;

      • (ii) a two phase test is as follows:

        • (A) Phase I should include a “surprise” alarm during normal operating hours when the  is in the stand down position. Time starts with the initiation of the alarm and ends when the vehicle(s) being tested are completely clear of the doors (outside the fire-hall);

        • (B) Phase II should include a pre-announced alarm from the ready position trucks which are running at a stand still position outside the fire-hall. This alarm should be initiated by radio or audible bell/horn. Time starts with the initiation of alarm and ends when vehicle comes to a complete stop and commences water discharge at the midpoint of the farthest runway from the fire-hall.

  • (3) Recommended Test Procedures (50% discharge requirements)

    • (a) The equipment required is a stopwatch.

    • (b) Immediately after the arrival of the vehicle(s) and their initial discharge, it is recommended to perform a flow rate test by discharging the complete water content of the vehicle(s) that are counted in the response test and calculate their relative discharge rate by the proportion of water versus the time to discharge it.
      NOTE: The water should be discharged where it will not affect aircraft operation.

  • (4) The following information should be provided for the records:

    • (a) vehicle(s) identification;

    • (b) time in seconds for the response;

    • (c) precise identification of the test response location;

    • (d) confirmation of vehicle assigned position;

    • (e) vehicle(s) capacity and manufacturer’s specified discharge capacity; and

    • (f) duration of water discharge in seconds (vehicle full, turret high flow).
      NOTE: The information provided in paragraphs (e) and (f) should allow the evaluator to asses the vehicle discharge capability in litres per minutes.

343.19   Communication and Alerting System
(amended 2001/06/01)

  • (5) Sample of site specific Agreement on Procedural Operational Arrangement between the Air Traffic Service and the Airport/Aircraft Fire Fighting Service operator establishing procedures for the utilization of a discreet Aircraft/ Frequency

Agreement on Procedural Operational
Arrangement between (identify airport name)
Airport Authority and (ATS facility)

EFFECTIVE on: (date)

SUBJECT: Discreet Aircraft Fire Fighting Communications – Operating Procedures

  • 1. PURPOSE:

  • To establish operating procedures for direct radio communication between the (identify airport name) Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting – Incident Commander (IC), and aircraft flight crew.

  • 2. SCOPE:

  • The procedures outlined herein describe the conditions surrounding authorization, use, and limitations related to the use of Discreet Emergency Frequency (DEF) by aircraft flight crew, and . This Agreement on Procedural Operational Arrangement is used in conjunction with, and subordinate to, the Agreement on Procedural Operational Arrangement between (identify name) airport authority and (ATS facility).


  • Each party to this agreement is responsible for compliance by personnel under their authority with the provisions contained herein. Training and language capabilities of involved personnel is also the responsibility of the signatories.


    • a. Recognizing the (identify airport name) airport authority’s overall control of the airport, it has the need to monitor the DEF in use during an emergency for awareness of the situation and for planning purposes. If an aircraft emergency is in progress, the DEF is designated for communications between the   IC and the flight crew.

    • b. The   IC, call sign (identify) shall initially utilize the ground control frequency established for emergency response and maintain contact with (ATS) on such frequency until directed to switch to the DEF. When the   IC has switched to the discreet frequency, he will have receiving capability on the normal ground frequency.

    • c. When directed to switch to the DEF, the   IC will utilize that frequency for emergency communications with the flight crew. ATS personnel will use the phraseology: “airport (Call sign identified above)(aircraft call sign) on (frequency X).”

    • d. The   IC may request permission from (ATS identifier) to establish direct communications, on the DEF, with the flight crew of the aircraft involved in the emergency. The   IC shall receive direct authorization from (ATS identifier) and be assigned to the DEF prior to transmitting on it.

    • e. At no time during direct communication with the emergency aircraft shall the   IC issue aircraft movement instruction or clearance. Terminology on the DEF shall be in accordance with standard radio procedures.

    • f. The   IC shall notify the ATS on (ground control frequency) when the status of the emergency allows the release of the DEF. (ATS identifier) will then direct the emergency aircraft and all responding vehicles to return to the normal ground control frequency or as otherwise directed.

    • g. The airport authority shall maintain a log or a recording of all emergency communications on the established discreet radio frequency.

  • 5. (ATS identifier) PROCEDURES:

    • a. Once an emergency response has been initiated, the ATS supervisor may elect to have a separate controller coordinate the emergency on the DEF.

    • b. The controller assigned to coordinate the emergency shall coordinate (with all appropriate operating positions) for the arrival of the aircraft and the intent/request of responding vehicles to proceed toward the site before issuing clearance for such.

    • c. Aircraft/vehicles already assigned to the DEF, but not involved in the emergency, shall remain on normal frequency.

    • d. ATS shall issue instructions for the   IC and aircraft to switch to the DEF. Phraseology: For   IC “(airport  call sign), contact (aircraft call sign) on (frequency X)”. For aircraft, “(aircraft call sign), contact (airport RFF call sign) on (frequency).”

    • e. When the DEF is in use, (ATS facility identifier) will issue control instructions and information to the flight crew and RFF vehicles on the DEF.

    • f. When notified by the   IC that the status of the emergency allows the release of the DEF, (ATS identifier) will then direct the emergency aircraft and all responding vehicles to return to the normal ground control frequency or as otherwise directed.


Air Traffic Service Manager
Airport Manager



Chief, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting