Fire fighting foams: the essential truths

Published:  04 December, 2014

OPINION: Fluorochemicals give firefighting foams some amazing capabilities and without them they simply don’t work as well – if at all, writes David Plant, Global Product Manager, Fire Fighting Chemicals, Angus Fire.

What is the fundamental purpose of a fire fighting foam and when should it be used? For us at Angus Fire, the answers are as straight forwards as the questions. Firefighting foams are designed to extinguish complex and dangerous flammable liquid fires. They should be used whenever there is a need to fight a fire quickly and safely. Every firefighter understands this need, although it is clear that not every academic does.

To understand the issues with foam and fluorine would take more than a few paragraphs. In order to help grasp this challenging topic, we have put together an article, written for the layman, dedicated to this subject and published on our website; www.angusfire.co.uk.

Please take the time to read it.  Firefighters around the world need to have the confidence that their firefighting foam will work and perform in a predictable way every time. Fluorotelomers give foam this capability. Foams may be stored for many years and suddenly, at a moment’s notice, be expected to deliver high performance. There are no second chances. The lives and safety of firefighters rely on this liquid and it is for this reason that our products are formulated to be the best performers possible. The latest C6 fluorochemical technology balances maximum fire fighting capability with minimum environmental impact thereby ensuring firefighter’s safety.

Current fluorine-free foams suffer from the same problems. These were developed back in the 1930s and the recent fluorine-free technology is subject to many of the same limitations in performance. Their surface chemistry means they are extremely susceptible to contamination by volatile hydrocarbon liquids. This means the foam easily mixes with hydrocarbons and the foam blanket can burn, rather than secure.

In 2007, Angus Fire first launched Syndura, a fluorine-free foam for flammable liquid fires and since 2011 we have had a range of C6, state-of-the-art, fluorine-containing foams.

Our products continue to evolve and improve, and we will always recommend the right product for the right hazard. We will never sacrifice the primary requirement of a foam to deliver repeatable, reliable fire fighting performance against the secondary requirement of debatable environmental impact.

  • Operation Florian

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