Since the 1970s, synthetic firefighting foams have been used around the world to rapidly supress and extinguish fires. Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) are water-based firefighting foam products that address flammable liquid fires by cooling the fire and coating the fuel, preventing its contact with oxygen. However, in recent years firefighting foams containing fluorine (such as some AFFF’s) have been identified as having adverse impacts on the environment. Historically, many of these foams include fluorinated surfactants such as PFOA and PFOS, which are part of a broader group of chemicals called PFAS substances.
Wormald has been working on migrating to more environmentally sustainable firefighting foams that are fluorine free. This proactive stance has seen Wormald’s VFSS re-approved using environmentally sensitive fluorine free foam.
The environmentally sensitive foam concentrate is used in Wormald’s foam vehicle suppression system, and foam fire extinguishers. The pre-engineered fluorine free foam system has been approved using Solberg foam concentrate and a new Wormald fluorine foam concentrate. Both concentrates meet the performance requirements of the revised Australian Standard for vehicle fire protection, AS5062 - 2016.
Existing Wormald AFFF systems can be easily upgraded to Fluorine Free Foam with minor modifications to existing systems, such as an increase in cylinder pressure. These new fluorine foam concentrates are essentially ‘drop in’ replacements for the existing Wormald AFFF concentrate solutions containing fluorine.
Fluorine Free Foams have the distinct advantage that they can be discharged without the need for containment and disposal. They also avoid the persistent, bio-accumulative and potentially adverse effects that AFFF concentrates can pose. The new Fluorine Free Foam solution continues to provide all the benefits of AFFF while meeting the demand for more environmentally and sustainable fire suppression systems, with Queensland and South Australia enforcing a state ban on the use of AFFF from July 1, 2019.