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Saturday
Nov302013

Foam 110 - Concentrate Labeling

Once your organization has chosen and taken delivery of the Foam concentrate of choice to handle your expected hazards, it is critical to understand all the markings listed on the original container. Since the 5 gallon pail is the most effective way to transport Foam concentrate for mobile operations seen in fire suppression and hazardous materials work we will restrain our discussion to this container. Many other containers such as the “tote” or “55 gallon drum” are also effective, but these require transportation infrastructures and heavy equipment to move these containers about. It is equally critical to understand ALL containers of choice and their labels. UL or Underwriters Laboratory is the “gold” standard for the certification of Foam types. Their names listed are;

1] Protein Foam

2] Fluoroprotein Foam

3] Film Forming Fluoroprotein (FFFP)

4] Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)

5] Alcohol Resistant Film Forming Foam (AR-AFFF)

The percentage of application should be clearly designated on your pails. Such as “3%” this equates to 3% Foam concentrate to 97% water equaling a 100% Foam Solution. All designates will equal a 100% solution. Along with this information includes any approvals from the aforementioned group UL and or others such as FM (Factory Mutual) which is another respected industrial standard for certification, authorizing this product to perform to its standards. The United States Coast Guard (U. S. C. G.) has standards that incorporate the entire application system WITH the performance of the Foam concentrate. The United States Military or (Mil. Spec.) Has a stringent performance test that pushes Foam concentrate to its limits. Part of this test requires performance at half the intended usage strength! They are also mixed and tested with all Foams already on the Militaries Qualified Products List or (QPL).

Another area listed is “Health Hazards” to both the environment and the user. This may contain special handling requirements listed on the pail, as well as found in the Foams’ SDS (MSDS) accompanying information.

Instructions for use and storage may differ between concentrates even when they are from the same manufacturer. The UL minimum storage temperature is a common difference while the maximum temperature for storage must be below 120 F. All of these criteria make the user familiar with what his/her department is carrying and how it should be stored or treated. Additionally, this understanding by the user should minimize compatibility issues when accepting these Foam concentrates into your organizations system or “Foam Bank”.

Labeling becomes even more important when frequent use of “Training Foam” is practiced. Training Foam concentrate is not intended to be used on “LIVE” fires or spills, as some of the key performance ingredients are removed to make them more “transparent” when used in the environment. They are not manufactured to the same specifications as firefighting Foam for a number of reasons;

1] Low cost, this allows for more frequent training scenarios

2] More training=more effective field operations with less waste of time & resources

3] Proportioning equipment can be tested and calibrated with training Foam concentrate

4] Environmental friendliness & biodegradability associated with frequent use

Some of this information is directly specific to “National Foam” 1st Defense Training Foam. Other manufacturers have various formulations of training Foam, ranging from super concentrate soap-like, to watered down class “A” concentrates. Frequent usability and Environmental impact may vary widely between formulations. Check with your manufacturer first before use for specific recommendations. If you’re “Training Foam” does not meet your expectations, contact National Foam they will direct you where you want to be.

                            Haz Mat Mike   

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