Light and air unit

A light and air unit, also known as a breathing support unit, is a specialized piece of firefighting apparatus used by firefighters to provide supplemental lighting and SCBA air bottles at the scene of an emergency.[1] During prolonged emergencies, particularly structure fires, where firefighters must remain on air (wearing their SCBAs), these air bottles will need to be replaced and refilled.[2] The light and air unit has the ability to refill the SCBA bottles while in the field using onboard air compressors(cascade).[1] It also carries a supply of spare air cylinders. These units are highly customizable and can vary greatly between departments.[3] These multifunctional units are also equipped with diesel generators which supplies electricity to power portable lights and overall scene illumination.[4] This is usually done via a roof mounted telescoping light bank. The unit also has the ability to supply electrical power in an emergency to a shelter, base camp, or medical facility.

In the United States, Chapter 24 of National Fire Protection Association regulation 1901 outlines specifications for any air system mounted on firefighting apparatus.[5]


  1. "Light Air 1" (PDF). Santa Barbara County Fire. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  2. "Apparatus". Los Angeles Fire Department. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  3. "Air & Light Unit". E-One. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  4. Peters, William (9 January 2012). "Apparatus Purchasing: Back to Basics". Fire Engineering Magazine. 165 (6). Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  5. "24 - Air Systems", Standard for Automated Fire Apparatus (NFPA 1901) (2009 ed.), National Fire Protection Association, pp. 92–100
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