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Haz Mat "Specialist Course"
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Determining “FOAM” Resources

     Determining what type of Foam used, amount needed on-site, and the number of ground monitors flowing is the most important aspect of your future Tank Farm firefight. Pre-planning and orchestrating the logistics of this one feature will make a successful extinguishment possible. Whether the fire is inside a Bulk Storage Tank or on the ground formed into a pool, the beginning calculations are critical. Both are temporarily “confined” {either in a pool or inside tank walls} by clear measurable boundaries. The accompanying slides show calculations for determining area, gallons of Foam, and total gallons of water needed. Additional water gallon-age must be added to your total if you need water cooling streams for exterior tank walls or production lines.

     Once these calculations have given you the supplies needed there are other concerns that need addressing with your tank farm operators. What type of Foam does the tank farm operator use? If this is the best extinguishing agent, and you intend to supplement, does your department use a compatible type? Usually it is more economical for the farm to make arrangements for type and volume of Foam concentrate needed. Is the Foam all on-site? If not, could there be transportation issues that your fire department may be able to subsidize? All of these questions need answering during the pre-plan for tank fires. While the tank is burning at 0200hrs is not the time to be asking for solutions. If various varieties of Foam concentrate are used, will this elongate foam application, exhaust supplies, and possibly fail to extinguish the fire?

     Application methods are also critical. Usually, the fire department resources are called to supplement fixed systems or because fixed systems have failed. This being said, Fire department equipment will be called on to do the bulk of the work. Does your apparatus have the ability to deliver the volume and rate of Foam application needed? Are all these elements in-service and operating? Are all members operating them familiar with tank farm operations? Have they trained at the tank farm site? Are the site roads you will be using formidable enough to support fire apparatus? Does the tank farms hydrant locations, offer options for Fire Department supply if one or more are destroyed? If fire apparatus is needed for support or transfer operations, can your fittings be adapted? Does the farm have all these fittings and tools on-site, or do you? Can farm personnel assist you installing these adaptations during the event?

     These are the types of pre-planning questions and answers needed for an effective response. Tank Farm personnel should be drawn in to your emergency operations and planning. In the event of a major incident it is always better to work with old friends than to meet new unknowns.


                                         Haz Mat Mike

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