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How Do Firefighters Make Water Wetter?

Firefighting has been an integral part of rescue services for centuries. These highly trained individuals are trusted in their service with full capacity and knowledge of the procedure. They are in charge of controlling and putting out fires as well as responding to certain emergencies that involves life, property, and the environment. Over the years, technology has provided them with certain tools and techniques to aid in their job. One of which is making water wetter to extinguish fires faster. But how is it done?

For the fire rescue to be more effective, firefighters use a special chemical-based product called the firefighting foam to help the water be wetter than usual. This lessens the exterior pressure of plain water so it’s more effortless to distribute and flow into things.

What Firefighting Foam and How Do Firefighters Use It?

Firefighting foam has been available in retail use since the early 1900s. The National Fire Protection Association in (NFPA) 11 – Prototype for Low, Medium, and High Expansion Foam, Section 3.1.10, defines foam as: a stable accumulation of drops of lower density than oil or water.

The foam is made up of three component parts: foam concentrate, water, energy. Energy can take the form of air or mechanical agitation and when added to the foam concentrate mixed with the appropriate amount of water, the finished foam is produced through means of a discharge device. 
The finished foam is very fluid and readily flows over liquid surfaces to smash blaze in four modes: Bans oxygen separates the fuel from vapor. Cools fuel surface, the water content of foam. Prevents the release of vapors or flammable fuel, And separates flame from fuel surface. (Source: International Fire Protection)

Does Using the Firefighting Foam Boost Operational Efficiency?

Several countrified and small urban fire brigades have already embraced the use of Class A Foam as part of their day-to-day functioning tactics. Their use of Class A Foam, quite simply, makes good sense.

For any division that has to bring their water to the stage with them and has to establish water tanker shuttles, using Class A foam can easily improve the operational efficiency of fighting the fire. The reason for this is that Class A foam, when properly deployed, allows the fire to be extinguished more quickly and with far less water than would be required if it were not being used. 

On average, the use of Class A foam increases water’s wetting capacity ten-fold. In more simplified terms, making water wetter. In addition, the amount of time essential post extinguishment during overhaul or mop-up is greatly declined.

The benefit of firefighting froth by the fire service is not a single extinguishing resolution, but rather a tool that when integrated with tactics creates a more efficient operational scenario.

With the foreword of Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS), some units have taken the approach believing they could reduce water consumption in liters-a-minute but the reality is whether using CAFS or traditional foam application appliances like a line or foam nozzles, water is still needed to suppress the blaze.

The use of foam, like other aids available to the fire service, is a force multiplier that when employed with traditional tactics stabilizes the fire hazard thus allowing fire personnel to enter the structure for overhaul. 
While there are efficiencies associated with the use of foam be it advancements in system hardware technology or the foam concentration itself, the use of firefighting foam and Class A foam, in particular, is an asset the fire service should not overlook for structural protection. (Source: International Fire Protection)

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