In an exclusive article published by the International Fire and Safety Journal, John Olav-Ottesen, Managing Director and Founder at Dafo Fomtec AB, sheds light on the evolving landscape of fire-fighting foams.
He articulates the complexities and variables that influence the choice of foam, especially as industries are shifting away from PFAS containing foams.
The article points out that the industry is witnessing a growing conversation about the move away from PFAS foams.
This decision is further complicated as Synthetic Fluorine Free Foam (SFFF) is still an emerging technology.
While globally recognized approvals provide some guidance, many other factors play crucial roles in foam selection.
These include the hazard location, hazard type, involved fuels, and international foam approvals.
Olav-Ottesen references data from 30 years ago, illustrating that a certain amount of foam needs to be applied to a Class B fuel fire before it can be extinguished.
The data indicates that increasing the foam’s application density can reduce extinguishing time.
Over the past 50 years, extensive test data with PFAS foams has enabled organizations to set test rates and give advice on minimum application rates.
The real-world application, however, presents varying challenges, especially with SFFF being non-film forming.
Differences between foam manufacturers, foam concentrates, and foam qualities are just the tip of the iceberg.
Discharge devices and the interplay with foam concentrate also play pivotal roles in fire-fighting outcomes.
Various organizations, including NRL, NFPA Research Group, and LASTFIRE, have been probing the impact of different fuels on SFFF. FM approvals have evolved to state specific chemicals like “heptane” rather than broad categories like “hydrocarbons”.
These complexities underscore Fomtec’s commitment to research.
Their dedicated “Enviro Programme” aims to understand the performance of their SFFF products under different conditions, emphasizing data-driven decision-making.
The advancements in firefighting foam technology, as presented by Fomtec, highlight the industry’s responsiveness to environmental and performance considerations.
The research, testing, and data-driven approach championed by Fomtec underscore the importance of informed decision-making in fire safety.
As the industry navigates this complex terrain, companies like Fomtec are leading the way, ensuring the safety of both the environment and end-users.