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Official Test of Compressed Air Foam Systems
The Fire Industry is an industry that is highly regulated from within. Various institutions such as the American based National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), UL (USA and Canada), Factory Mutual (USA and Canada), LastFire Testing Protocol and EN (European Union) sets and controls the standards for fire equipment, protective clothing and foam chemicals. The LastFire Regime concentrates predominantly on setting standards for foam chemicals, and is the only institution that tests products at various locations in the world, under their direct strict supervision and set standards. All the other institutions only tests products in their established and purpose built facilities.
With the banning of PFOS and PFAS surfactants, and thereby the use of AFFF foams, and with the strict requirements as laid down by the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), the major Oil Companies in Australia applied to Last Fire to test the foams available in Australia, and thereby determine which foams are effective in the extinguishment of fires, while still complying to the EPA’s strict requirements. Last Fire agreed to this, and a decision was taken that all testing was to be done at the testing facilities of the Victoria University of Technology in Melbourne, Victoria. The testing facility, located at Fiskville, Victoria, is a purpose built facility, and widely used to test products on World Standards. A panel of three highly qualified and world recognised academics was appointed to control and evaluate the tests, and the required equipment was manufactured by the Victoria University of Technology. Last Fire personnel scrutinised, tested and evaluated all equipment, as well as the facility, before it was approved to be used for the tests.
OFB Corporation submitted a chemical developed “in house” which was called OFB 1. As no standard exist in the world for testing and certification of foam applicators, Last Fire adapted their testing regime and agreed to test the OFB Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) as an applicator.
The Last Fire Test Regime requires a circular fire pan, filled with 200 litres of water and 300 litres of High Octane Heptane fuel, which are pre-burned for three minutes before foam may be applied to extinguish the fire. The fire burns at a temperature of 800°C, and the flames reach a hight of +/- 15 meters. The standard calls for the foam to extinguish the fire in 7 minutes. After 10 minutes, if the flames are not extinguished, the foam chemical fails the test and is not rated.
Using a 150 litres CAFS with 600 ml of OFB1 chemical and 149 litres of water, the fire was completely extinguished in 13 seconds. A foam expansion rate of > 30 : 1 was achieved. Inductor systems presently in use achieve an expansion rate of +/- 4 : 1.The CAFS and foam chemicals were awarded the highest certification., Good Performance 80%- 100%. OFB CAFS are the only CAFS in the world to be officially certified.
The official test result was recorded as follows:
1. The fire was extinguished in +/- 13 seconds for both foams.
2. The surface temperature of the pan and the fuel were cool to the touch.
3. No re-ignition occurred.
The full LastFire test results are available to clients on request.