Globally the fire fighting products, tactics and the actual hazards themselves continue to evolve.
New materials and building techniques demand that the fire service, including engineering, fire fighting, equipment manufacturers of both the fixed systems and mobile fire truck apparatus manufactures, adapt to the changing environment.
In the challenging world of protecting special hazards, including flammable liquid fire protection, both passive fire protection systems and actual firefighting, is one of the most difficult and typically requires the use of water additives.
Environmental protection and the requirement to contain system discharge continue to become stricter, including the type of foam concentrate being used. Many global users are being required to employ environmentally friendly foam concentrate liquids to reduce or eliminate potential contamination from foam solution discharge, whether testing a system or actual fire fighting.
Since the fluorine free foam chemistry is different from the traditional foam concentrates, most aspects of the foam concentrate are different. This includes, but is not limited to, viscosity, shear rates and corrosion.
These factors affect many aspects of the foam concentrate pumping system- whether mounted on a mobile fire apparatus or a fixed foam pumping system. No matter what the foam pump prime mover is, electric, diesel engine or water turbine drivers, the required pump input power will need careful consideration and review.
Other key pump application points are the type of pump suction strainer type and screen hole size, length of straight pipe on the pump suction, pump operating rpm, pump inlet port size and various other considerations.
In addition, the materials used for the construction of the pump must be considered as current alloys and materials may not be compatible with the new foam concentrates. This is due to the formulation and chemicals used by the foam concentrate manufacturer to make the triple F foam concentrates effective at fighting fires as well as meeting the stringent requirements to remove all fluorinated compounds from the foam concentrates. The resulting compound chemistry should be considered when selecting or retrofitting existing foam pumping or proportioning hardware.
Also, of note, some of the new foam compounds on the market may not be well suited to traditional proportioning methods such as bladder tanks or eductors. Additionally, the metering orifice(s) will require the manufacturers to test their equipment with the new concentrate formulations to ensure the proper proportioning percentage can be achieved.
Existing foam proportioning systems will require a full review and technical survey to fully understand the scope of the if, how, what and costs of changing concentrates will entail.
Fire Lion has embarked on an ambitious testing program to understand the effects on the pump and pumping system components.
Tom Reser, Director at Fire Lion Global said, “It is critical to know the pitfalls of pumping higher viscosity liquids and correct the traditional approach in engineering, selecting and installing foam pumps.
“Since our pumps are one of the key factors in many large foam systems, both on fire apparatus and in fixed systems, Fire Lion Global must invest time and resources to know what to do and how to address the ever changing operational issues the special hazards fire protection industry faces.
“In the spring of 2019, a big flow Fire Lion Pump ran for 172 hours at a large industrial fire complex in Deer Park, Texas. We understand how important reliability and performance is.
“This includes both new and retro fit installations, whether with fixed systems or mobile apparatus – it is critical to ask the questions and do your research.”
Based in Vancouver, Washington, USA Fire Lion Global’s supply chain network is secure using domestic sources for all materials, ensuring they can meet the delivery and quality demands of their customer base.
For more information, go to www.firelionglobal.com