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Developed and maintained by the NFCC


An airline supplies air to the wearer from a cylinder located remotely from the wearer.

Specific operating procedures apply to the command, control and deployment of airline equipment, which must only be used by properly trained and competent personnel. Fire and rescue services must ensure that their procedures align with this foundation document and any other technical procedures that are in place covering the operation of airline equipment.

Operational practice

Subject to fire and rescue service risk assessments, it may be appropriate for fire and rescue services to use airline equipment as a safe means of providing a breathing apparatus capability. 

An airline may be appropriate:

  • Where extended air supply to self-contained breathing apparatus wearers is required
  • Where the use of self-contained BA may not be suitable or is less effective

These incidents include but are not limited to:

  • Incidents in the open, where airlines are used to provide a breathable atmosphere without the weight of a self-contained BA set
  • Specialist operations that involve restricted access to the working area

In accordance with the system of operating when wearing self-contained BA, airline teams will comprise a minimum of two BA wearers.

Each airline team will be equipped with suitable communications that will enable each team to communicate with the airline BA entry control point.

The use of airlines reduces the overall weight imposed on a BA wearer and can provide a limitless supply of air. However, the physiological limitations of the wearer should be considered whenever airline equipment is used.

An airline is susceptible to mechanical damage that could compromise the air supply to the wearer. Appropriate care and protective arrangements must be maintained.

The incident commander should be aware of the location of all airline BA entry control points, and while it is permissible for self-contained BA wearers to use the same BA entry control point, a separate BA entry control board with a dedicated BA entry control operative must be established and maintained.

The location of the airline BA entry control point should take into account the previous guidance regarding BA entry control points. The incident commander will also take account of the:

  • Length and amount of airline required
  • Number of personnel required to operate it
  • Distance to the scene of operations

In addition to duties outlined in BA operational procedures – all incidents, the following responsibilities apply:

Role and responsibilities of the incident commander

The incident commander will:

  • Determine the requirement for the use of airline equipment
  • Identify the location of airline BA entry control points

Role and responsibilities of the BA wearer

The BA wearer will:

  • Manage the laying and recovery of the airline to ensure effective progress at an incident