What is a Foam Extinguisher?
Foam extinguishers can come in different varieties, Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) being the most popular type. AFFF extinguishers provide to be a low-cost effective solution that offers high cooling and produces a foam covering that starves the fire from its fuel. In this article, we will cover what the foam extinguisher is used for, what class fires, its pros, and cons and how to ensure good maintenance so you can have an effective fire protection system. In this article, we will focus on the AFFF fire extinguishers being the most popular choice for suppliers and installers in Australia.
Foam Extinguishers Variety Types
- Alcohol-resistant film-forming fluoroprotein (AR-FFFP).
- Fluoroprotein foam (FP)
- Alcohol-resistant fluoroprotein foam (AR-FP)
- Regular protein foam (P)
- Film-forming fluoroprotein (FFFP)
- Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) – Customers choice
How To Identify A Foam Extinguisher?
In Australia, foam extinguishers have a red body and will have a BLUE colour band wrapped around the tank as you can see in our foam fire extinguisher image below. An AFFF fire extinguisher is also distinguishable as its hose ends in a black nozzle. You can also identify a foam extinguisher by looking at the description label imprinted on the red tank. The label should include:
- Type: Foam
- Size: Most Popular Size is 9.0L
- Use Instructions
- Acceptable Materials For Use
What are AFFF fire extinguishers used for?
AFFF fire extinguishers suppressing agent allows to fire fight class A (ordinary combustibles) and B (flammable liquid). This makes foam extinguishers suitable for areas such as warehouses, storage units (not with electrical equipment or heavy machinery), paper mills, textile factories, and even house living rooms. We highly recommend to not use it on grease fires caused by fats and oils. If you think you need help choosing the best extinguisher, please feel free to get in touch with one of 30+ years experienced experts who can consult the right extinguisher based on your needs.
Suitable Class Fires For C02 Extinguisher
- Class A Fires: These involve ordinary combustibles including wood, paper, textiles and many plastics.
- Class B Fires (Most Used): These involve flammable liquids such as gasoline, petroleum greases, oil-based paints.
How Does AFFF Extinguisher Work?
AFFF fire extinguishers is a foam concentrate product which, when sprayed on a flammable liquid fire, forms a thin aqueous film at the fuel/air starving the fuel from the oxygen and suppressing the combustion reaction. The blanket of foam also contains traces of water and a mixture of solvents, biocides, corrosion inhibitors which provides a cooling effect and reduces the possibility of a fire reigniting.
Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) leverages hydrocarbon- and fluoro-surfactant technologies to provide its superior fire fighting potential during times of need. The foam also uses multiple mechanisms designed to ensure burn-back resistance. It also boasts outstanding wetting properties and can be used with other chemical agents like the purple-K dry compound to provide improved fire suppression performance.
Pros of AFFF Extinguishers:
- Cost Effective
- Easy To Maintain
- Foam Discharge Better Than Chemical
- Great Alternative To Water
Cons of AFFF Extinguishers
- Corrosive (found in AFFF solution)
How Do I Use A AFFF Fire Extinguisher?
- Before attempting to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher it is important to check that it is fully charged and that the safety pin is not bent
- Ensure you remain a safe distance from the fire and remove the safety pin this will break the tamper seal
- Where to aim the fire extinguisher hose:
- Flammable liquids Aim the hose at a vertical surface near the fire, do not spray directly at the fire as this could cause the fire to be pushed and spread to surrounding areas. Foam extinguishers allow a build-up of foam across the surface of the fire causing it to be smothered.
- Solid combustibles: Aim the hose at the base of the fire, moving across the area of the fire
- Squeeze the lever slowly to begin discharging the extinguisher, as the fire starts to diminish carefully move closer to it
- Ensure all the fire has been extinguished, the foam creates a blanket over the fire and helps to prevent re-ignition.
Foam Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
It is routine for fire extinguishers to be checked every six months by a service team as required per regulations. However, we recommend once a month to ensure the following:
- The extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that interfere with access in an emergency.
- The pressure is at the recommended level, this means the needle should be in the green zone- not too high and not too low.
- The nozzle or other parts are not obstructed
- The pin and tamper seal is intact
- There are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have landed on the extinguisher.
- Fire extinguishers should be pressure tested (a process called hydrostatic testing) after a number of years to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use. We provide our partner, majestic fire with pressure testing and maintenance services.
Foam Fire Extinguisher Identification Signs
It is compulsory to have an extinguisher identification sticker as well as fire extinguisher label visible at all times. We offer an extensive range of sticks and labels as accessories to fire extinguishers. Please ensure you also have a maintenance service tag.
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