The fireballs, smoke, and hazard created by thousands of gallons of exploding jet fuel are one of the most difficult logistics to overcome in the little known world of airport firefighting. But now Miami International Airport is on the cutting edge of this dangerous emergency operation. Pacific54 wanted to learn more.
Miami-Dade County recently spent 3 million dollars on four new state-of-the-art Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting vehicles, also known as ARFF’s.
They are equipped with high technology that would make James Bond jealous, Batman sign a lease, and Tony Stark build a competitor.
The vehicles represent a collaboration between Miami capital, Minnesota manufacturing, and Canadian software.
Here we will explain how all of these variables come together:
The vehicles were built by Rosenbauer America, a Wyoming, Minnesota based company that specializes in fire fighting technology.
The company’s Regional ARFF Manager Paul Powell told us, “Life safety at the airport is very important. And in high risk firefighting you have to have the right tools. Miami Dade are excellent customers with a well run fire department and the airport is top notch. The new Miami trucks have a lot of neat stuff on them.”
The four 6×6 Panther HRET’s move at 65 miles per hour, and can use a “stinger” to punch a hole through a plane’s exterior and shoot high velocity water and foam directly into the interior.
They are rapid intervention vehicles with a 3,000 gallon capacity, and they are built to the highest industry standards.
The on board electronics that perform navigation functions are supplied by Team Eagle, a Canadian company specializing in airfield operational solutions.
Here is where we get into the software, imaging, and wireless communications end of the technology spectrum. Keep in mind, the key to battling any fire is speed, but that need is exponentially greater in any airport fire situation.
Team Eagle outfitted Miami’s new ARFF’s with their trademarked EagleEye DEVS (Driver Enhanced Vision System Technology), which combines a live mapping system with infrared thermal imaging camera, inter vehicle texting, a custom on board library containing plane schematics and other important data, and wifi communications via touch screens, and the ability for a fire chief to draw out plans on everybody’s screens at once, on the fly, like a football coach.
The software at the heart of the system is designed around the need to quickly locate the site of the accident, navigate there, and avoid all obstacles on the way.
It is built on a Windows framework, and includes a “command and control” app to delegate responsibilities.
It’s like if Google Maps was built with the intent of fighting airport emergencies.
Screen shot of specs via Eagle-Team website
So, now, Miami International Airport is on the cutting edge of airport emergency vehicle response technology.
We hope that no accidents ever occur which necessitate the use of our new ARFFs, but we are confident that if they do need to respond, they will be able to do so quickly, efficiently, and effectively thanks to the collaboration between our taxpayers, Minnesota muscle, and Canadian computer heads. Now that’s what you call technology at work.