Some F3 products, “can be made to perform effectively as an AFFF alternative with proper testing and design” concluded Jensen Hughes’ testing in 2019. With new EU regulations and a proposed ban on C6 by 2025, what does this mean for users?
Now is the time to pragmatically assess the risks – standard practice for our industry – and where foam is required, transition to or specify F3.
Some F3 products do perform effectively
Firefighters, fire protection engineers and site managers need to consider transitioning their systems, trucks and safe operating procedures to F3. Whilst F3 has historically been seen as ‘low performing’, the truth is that some “next generation” F3’s perform extremely effectively, (i.e. using potable, fresh, sea and even brackish water). The LASTfire group has invested a significant amount of time, money and resources in large-scale F3 testing. Combining this research with other end-user testing and approval body testing, the data confirms there are some extremely high performing F3 products available.
Angus Fire’s Respondol ATF is one of those F3 products and performed at the highest ratings in LASTfire testing using fresh and sea water and has been included in their research papers, performing highly even through non-aspirating devices. It has EN1568-3&4 certification, achieving 1A/1A on both fresh and sea water and is also IMO approved. Respondol ATF has been end-user tested with site and brackish water on various fuels including aggressive polar solvents. It has UL162 approvals on heptane, IPA, ethanol, methanol and most impressively direct application into 15% ethanol/gasoline blends, again with both fresh and sea water. It is UL listed with a number of devices, including bladder tanks, ratio controllers and proportioners.
Respondol ATF is 100% biodegradable, WGK1 rated and independently GreenScreen Certified®.
The system standard EN13565 enables users to utilise low performing products by implementing correction factors to the application rates, however the viscosity of the foam concentrate is important. If it is too high, the concentrate will not flow efficiently through the proportioner, which will reduce its strength and effectiveness.
EN1568 puts the ‘limit’ of acceptable viscosity at 200 mm2/s; anything higher needs a special label and likely a more expensive proportioner. However, Respondol ATF doesn’t require this and is able to be easily proportioned through standard equipment.
Drainage times are key from both a safety perspective and a cost perspective. An AFFF typically drains in 5 minutes meaning that after 5 minutes, a ¼ of the water content has drained out of the foam blanket. Wouldn’t it be an advantage if you could have longer drain times, increased safety and reduced costs, as you don’t have to re-apply foam so often? Respondol ATF has a ¼ drain time of 2 hours – that’s 24 times longer and therefore up to 95% saving on foam application volumes!
One size does not fit all, and no foam should be viewed as a ‘drop-in replacement’ but fire suppression systems, fire trucks and safe operating procedures can be converted. Angus Fire has a wealth of experience and we are happy to help you on your journey to F3, so please contact us for advice. Critics will always exist, but with deadlines and penalties fast approaching – coupled with corporate and social responsibility – there is a need to act.
For more information, go to www.angusfire.co.uk/respondol