All Tulsa and Oklahoma City businesses need some type of fire suppression system to protect people and property from the devastating effects of a fire. But not all businesses need the same type of fire suppression system. In some cases, the traditional wet sprinkler system would be ineffective, even dangerous. In those situations, foam fire suppression systems may be the best solutions.
What applications may require a foam fire suppressing agent? Basically, any business that uses or stores flammable or combustible liquids may need a foam system. What type of businesses would those include and how do these suppression systems work?
Oil, Gas, Chemical, and Industrial Facilities
Foam fire suppression systems were originally designed to fight large oil fires. Today, they are still an effective means of fighting fires that deal with hazardous and flammable liquids like those used in refineries and manufacturing facilities.
Stable aqueous foam solutions serve as effective extinguishing agents Chemguard, a leading manufacturer of foam fire suppressants, noted, “by the combined mechanisms of cooling, separating the flame/ignition source from the product surface, suppressing vapors and smothering.” The foam thus can create a blanket over the fuel source and smother the fire while at the same time cooling the fuel and suppressing vapors. This can also help to protect against re-flash or re-ignition of the fire.
Why would water be ineffective? “Water, if used on a standard hydrocarbon fuel, is heavier than most of those liquids and if applied directly to the fuel surface, will sink to the bottom having little or no effect on extinguishment or vapor suppression. If the liquid fuel heats above 212ºF, the water may boil below the fuel surface throwing the fuel out of the contained area and spreading the fire,” Chemguard noted. “For this reason, foam is the primary fire-extinguishing agent for all potential hazards or areas where flammable liquids are transported, processed, stored or used as an energy source.”
Hazardous areas in the industrial or chemical-based field could also include car and rubber manufacturers, truck stops, mining facilities, engine test facilities, processing and dike areas, LNG tank farms, municipal fire departments, and even commercial kitchens.
Aircraft and Marine Applications
Airports, aircraft hangers, test facilities, and other businesses that house aerospace machinery with highly-combustible jet fuels are also prime examples of where foam fire suppression systems would be needed. These facilities often cover large areas that need the high-expansion properties of some foam suppression systems to quickly blanket the area and suppress a fire.
Many marine applications can also benefit from the quick extinguishing properties of foam solutions in their shipboard engine rooms as well as bilges and holds.
Storage Facilities and Warehouses
Large warehouses and other storage facilities can be protected with the high-expansion foam. Although these areas may not always house flammable liquids, they do have massive areas to protect if a fire breaks out. Roll-paper warehouses, storage buildings, basements, and loading racks can thus often be better protected against fire damage with foam fire suppression systems.
“The light, voluminous foam blanket produced by our high-expansion foam systems can quickly obtain great heights, reaching elevated flammable materials (such as on storage racks). The foam blanket efficiently transports small amounts of water to the fire, encapsulating the flammable vapors and causing suppression and extinguishment,” Chemguard said.
Other industries and applications can benefit from the quick and highly effective extinguishing power of foam agents. If your Tulsa or OKC business could benefit by installing a foam fire suppression system, please contact the fire protection specialists at Mac Systems. We can design and install the right type of foam fire suppression system for your particular business.
(Photos by our vendor Chemguard)