Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located in Orange County, Florida, approximately six miles southeast of Orlando. The airport is situated in the vicinity of popular tourist sites and attractions, making it one of the busiest in the country for domestic and international flights. The MCO is capable of receiving aircraft more than 200 feet in length, so it is assigned an aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) index E with certification I E S 05/1973.
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During the existence of the MCO, the index did not fall below the established requirements. The index assumes that the airport uses a minimum of three vehicles, one of which contains a fire extinguishing agent, and the other two the amount of water required to produce 6,000 gallons of foam. The airport is also required to ensure that various extinguishing agents are available to respond to different types of fires. MCO must have a full stock of multiple forms, for example, Aqueous Film Forming Foams, carbon dioxide, class D extinguishers, dry chemicals, and wetting agents.
The airport’s critical aircraft is the Boeing B747-8I, which requires 8,800 feet of runway. The largest aircraft used at the airport is the Boeing 747-400, over 231 feet in length and a total wingspan of 213 feet. Over the past six months, any Alert II or Alert III incidents have not occurred in the MCO. However, the Orlando International Airport Fire Rescue (OIAFR) is well prepared to respond to such incidents. The short-term challenge for the ARFF is responding to medical emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The long-term challenge is addressing the landing runway length requirements for critical aircraft.
Since this was my first visit to the ARFF station, I cannot highlight the similarities and differences with other stations. However, my first impression is that the station appeared well equipped, and the staff is prepared to respond to various incidents. Moreover, the layout of the station and its location ensures a minimum response time. My lasting impression is that the airport gives priority to the organization and coordination of emergency services. The OIAFR is exemplary, with a wide range of equipment and highly trained personnel, despite the long absence of significant incidents.