Airport Fire Officer (A.F.O.) Program

     

The A.F.O. professional designation program is specifically for high level leadership in the ARFF profession. The program prerequisites insure that a candidate has obtained and mastered the necessary baseline as an Airport Master Firefighter. A.F.O. goes above and beyond for both existing or aspiring leaders at the top of an ARFF organization who need to understand the structure of ARFF organizations, the standards and regulations as they apply to the ARFF environment, and to have a strong understanding of the fiduciary responsibilities they will be involved in. 

Why Become an A.F.O.

  • Expand on your knowledge of ARFF from the A.M.F. program as well as your research and writing capabilities. 
  • Increase your promotional and career opportunities in the field of ARFF
  • Earn the prestigious A.F.O. designation after your name and become a part of an elite group of ARFF professionals
  • Receive an A.F.O. patch and lapel pin
  • Be recognized through AAAE and ARFFWG media-related announcements and releases

Registration for the program is coming soon.
For questions regarding A.F.O. Registration, contact Ilana Brodesky or the ARFFWG at info@arffwg.org

Understanding the Process

Once the candidate officially registers for the program and pays all required dues for the A.F.O. program, the candidate will be assigned an ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative and will be given electronic access to the A.F.O. Supplemental Material. 

The ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative will be the point of contact for the candidate throughout the A.F.O. process. A.F.O. is a two-step process. Step One is a written exam to show mastery of the advanced material. Step Two presents your own interpretation or evaluation or argument through developing a research question and thesis, doing the research, writing a paper, and correctly documenting your sources or showing mastery of this through prior attainment of an advanced degree.

A.F.O. Step One

The A.F.O. candidate must successfully complete the A.F.O. 100 multiple-choice examination with a 70% or better. The written examination may be taken at any AAAE or ARFFWG conference, AAAE Headquarters, a local college or the firehouse (prior coordination is required). If you choose to have the test proctored locally, please have your proctor notify us in writing at least two weeks before the exam date. 

The written examination may be proctored by the following individuals:

  • ARFF Chief or ARFF Supervisor
  • Airport Fire Officer (A.F.O.)
  • Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.)
  • AAAE Staff Member
  • ARFFWG Director/Manager (active, past or present)
  • College Professor
  • High School Principal
When proctored locally by any of the above individuals, proof of this agreement must be demonstrated via formal letter on the proctor’s own letterhead containing the following information:
  • Proctor’s name and contact information (including email address)
  • Candidates name(s)
  • Intentions to proctor the examination(s)
  • Date, time, and location of exam
The proctor letter must be submitted to the AAAE office two weeks before the examination date. Examination information will be sent from the AAAE office directly to the proctor via email approximately two days prior to the examination.

The A.M.F. exam is to be taken over the internet if proctored locally. On a case-by-case basis, the candidate may elect to have a hard copy exam mailed to the proctor in the event the candidate and/or proctor do not have sufficient computer or internet capability.

A.F.O. Step Two

Once the candidate has successfully complete Step One, the candidate must complete and send the A.F.O. Step Two form to their assigned ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative. The form will include the end date for the candidate to have A.F.O. Step Two completed, which will be three years from the date the form is sent. The candidate will then have 30 days to complete this form and send to the assigned ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative for review and approval. 
The candidate must select and complete ONE of the following options for Tier 2:

  • Management Research Paper - Write a management research paper of 20-30 pages on a topic that is broadly applicable to ARFF management to propose a set of guidelines for managing a problem or set forth an argument for implementing a project or using a methodology. The topic must be approved in advance by the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee.
OR
  • Case Study, Proposal, or Project (staffing, fitness, additional apparatus, etc.) - Prepare a case study of 20-30 pages to recount/analyze the steps or measures taken by a specific ARFF department or ARFF system in implementing a project or managing a problem. The case study, proposal, or project must be approved in advance by the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee.
OR
  • Submit an official transcript of record from an accredited university or college to the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee to verify that you have earned a Bachelor's degree or Graduate Degree. The major course of study must have been in fire service administration, emergency services administration, public safety administration, or related.
The ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative will review the submitted Airport Fire Officer (A.F.O.) Tier Two Form and provide feedback to the candidate within thirty days following submission. The ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative will advise if the selected topic for Options 1 or 2 is approved, rejected, or requires more clarification. If the topic is approved, the candidate may proceed with writing the Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project. However, if the topic is rejected or requires further clarification, all revisions or a new topic must be resubmitted within thirty days from date of notice.

Some Helpful Tips for Selecting a Topic

Choosing your topic should be an expression of your professional and personal interest. It is important to remember that many topics are too narrow to be developed into a management paper. Your subject should not be a description of an activity, incident or process at your airport that has little relative value for other airport fire fighters.

Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project Guidance

Candidates are encouraged to contact their assigned ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative at any time during the A.F.O. process. To keep the candidate on track with the development and flow of the project, an outline of the paper should be developed and submitted to the assigned ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative for critique.

Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project Resources and Guidelines

The Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project should be drafted using the MLA (Modern Language Association) style. MLA is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project Submission of Final Draft

Candidates must submit the final draft of the Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project Submission of Final Draft to the assigned ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative. This may be done electronically through email to the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative. All papers are to be submitted in an editable format (i.e. Microsoft Word). The assigned representative will then submit to the ARFF Educational Affairs Committee for review and grading.

Evaluation of the Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project 

The ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee will review of the Management Research Paper, Case Study, Proposal, or Project to determines that it fulfills the objectives of the selected topic.  Should the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee decide that the paper is inadequate and needs more development, it will be returned to the candidate electronically for additional work. Comments will be provided to give the candidate direction on where to make some improvements.

The Board will score the paper pass/fail based upon the following criteria:

  • Fulfillment: Fulfills the assignment specifications.
  • Clarity: Uses headings and subheadings as appropriate to clearly lay out the author’s presentation.
  • Relevance: Related to aircraft rescue firefighting. Topic is current and can be utilized by others.
  • Depth: Explores the topic in reasonable detail and analysis. Concepts are substantiated and research sources documented.
  • Quality: Adheres to proper format and grammar.
It may take up to sixty days for the ARFFWG Educational Affairs Committee to review and return individual critiques to candidates. If candidates are required to resubmit revised papers, they have thirty days to do so and may submit to designated ARFFWG Educational Affairs Representative electronically. Papers will be included in the ARFF Libraries.

Summary Article and Presentation

While not required, the AFO candidate is highly encouraged to present on the management research paper or case study at an ARFFWG sponsored event or related conference (event/conference registration fees will not be charged). Additionally, a Summary Article (1,000-word Article) should potentially be published in ARFF News or AAAE Airport Magazine to share information that may be relevant and assist other ARFF originations. 

The article may include pictures or diagrams that are appropriate to the summary and assist in showing necessary detail of the candidate’s research and conclusion. Note: Any pictures or diagrams used must specifically state they are personally owned (i.e. you own the picture or diagram) or show you have permission to use the pictures or diagrams.

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