A methodology for locating fire stations at airports

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A methodology is developed to determine the locations of the fewest number of fire stations at an airport such that two guidelines, recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration, are met. The first guideline stipulates that airport fire vehicles must be capable of reaching any potential crash site on the runway system within a two minute time period. The second guideline requires stations to be located such that the chance of possible blockage of vehicle response routes to potential crash sites is minimized.

The methodology transforms an initial continuous facility location problem into a discrete problem. By modeling the discrete formulation as a modified set covering problem, a solution is determined that meets the two guidelines.

To illustrate the utility of the methodology, it is applied to two situations at the Atlanta Airport. In the first situation it is assumed that no fire stations exist at the airport, and in the second, three of the four fire stations planned to be in existence at the airport are assumed to be in operation.

For both situations, the methodology is applied three times, changing the average speed vehicles are assumed to be capable of traveling on the runway system each time. For an average speed of 40 m.p.h., it is shown that fire vehicles, responding from the four stations at the airport, are not capable of reaching every potential crash site on the runway system within a two minute time period.