Foam quality makes a difference
Laboratory tests are available for environmental, safety & health effects, corrosion properties, fire suppression effectiveness, and water content included in the foam concentrate during manufacture.
The USDA Forest Service tests for environmental, safety & health effects and corrosion properties.
The health and safety tests ensure the protection of the firefighters who handle the product as well as the general public who may be exposed during firefighting operations. These tests include toxicity, eye and skin irritation tests, etc. The environmental tests include product biodegradability, fish toxicity, etc. Corrosion tests include effects on metals (steel, brass, aluminum, and magnesium) and effects on non-metallics (rubber, plastic, etc.). Click on the USDA Forest Service link for their Class A foam Qualified Products List.
NFPA 1150 vs. USDA Forest Service testing
Many suppliers claim that their product meets the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1150 standard “Fire-Fighting Foam Chemicals for Class A Fuels in Rural, Suburban, and Vegetated Areas”. The NFPA 1150 specification requirements are the same as the USDA Forest Service specification. However, the USDA Forest Service conducts or oversees tests with other outside laboratories and qualifies a product that meets their requirements. NFPA 1150 is simply a standard; they do not conduct any tests to validate performance.
Requiring that a product is qualified by The USDA Forest Service alone is not enough.
The USDA Forest Service standard does not include any performance requirements. Certain performance tests are conducted (expansion ratio, drain time, etc.) but there are no pass/fail criteria.
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) conducts fire suppression effectiveness testing for Class A (wood crib & ginned cotton) and Class B (heptane) combustibles when products are UL listed as a Wetting Agent.
These tests will ensure that a product will extinguish a fire. Use rates required to pass these fire tests vary between different products that have been tested against this standard. Phos-Chek WD 881 Class A foam is a UL Listed Wetting Agent at a very low use rate of 0.1%. Click on www.ul.com to verify a UL Wetting Agent listing. Search their on-line certifications directory by product name or “wetting agent” in search criteria.
The last significant portion of the Class A foam specification should include water content limitations on the foam concentrate. Some suppliers add water to their foam concentrate in order to lower their costs. Typical water content necessary for concentrate production is about 45%. Some “concentrates” contain as much as 85% water!
Many respected Fire Departments all over the country have adopted this Class_A_Foam_Specification. Phos-Chek WD 881 Class A foam meets these stringent qualifications. Review the Specification_Justification for more information on items listed and why they are important to ensure that you are purchasing a quality Class A foam product.
Phos-Chek Class A foam Product Approvals/Tests
- USDA Forest Service – Approved for use for all application methods (ground engines, helicopter buckets, helicopters equipped with fixed tanks, and fixed wing aircraft)
- UL Listed Wetting Agent @ 0.1% use rate
- Approved for use by Canadair Corporation for use in the CL-215 and CL-415 water scooping aircraft. Canadair testing is conducted by the USDA Forest Service and approval for this application method is noted on their qualified products list (QPL).
- Meets requirements of NFPA 1150 “Standard on Fire-Fighting Foam Chemicals for Class A Fuels in Rural, Suburban, and Vegetated Areas”.
- Concentrate water content < 50%
For more detailed information on personal & environmental protection, download our Phos-Chek WD 881 Environmental, Safety & Health Questions and Answers brochure.
Review our Fact Sheet for more detailed product information such as pH, viscosity, etc.