Are you planning to start a business to supply and distribute firefighting equipment? In that case, your initial plan was probably to start with aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). However, recent developments like AFFF’s link to cancer and other health issues have made you rethink that.
Now, you want to find a few alternatives that’ll help you kickstart your business. Well, lucky for you, the industry has already developed better alternatives to AFFF. Examples include cold fire suppressants, water mist systems, Eco-Gel, etc.
In this blog, we will discuss why you should avoid supplying AFFF, a few alternatives, and more.
Table of Contents
Why Should You Avoid Supplying AFFF?
You’ve probably heard about the effectiveness of AFFF in fighting fires. You also know how this fire extinguisher generated massive profits for companies like 3M, DuPont, etc. That’s why you might wonder what exactly happened with AFFF usage.
The thing is, AFFF is a highly effective fire suppressant specifically used for hazardous Class B fuel fires. It’s got a composition that can create a layer over the fires to cut off the oxygen supply and cool them down. However, the only problem is that AFFF contains synthetic fluorinated hydrocarbon surfactants, including per-and-poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Studies have shown that PFAS doesn’t break down in nature or the human body. It’s a ‘forever chemical’ that is toxic and harmful to every living organism. As a result, many firefighters suffered the consequences of using AFFF regularly.
Fact: In various European countries, the use of PFAS in firefighting foam has been banned by environmentalists and the government.
What Happened to the Firefighters Who Used AFFF for Many Years?
Due to PFAS exposure, harmful particulates stayed in many firefighters’ blood systems for decades. That’s why many experienced initial side effects like eye irritation, respiratory issues, neurological problems, reproductive issues, etc.
Eventually, AFFF usage led them to develop serious health issues. These include leukemia, breast cancer, kidney cancer, increased cholesterol, a decrease in infant birth weights, etc.
Anyone exposed to toxic AFFF might develop cancer or other illnesses. Unfortunately, the manufacturers and distributors knew about the side effects but didn’t warn anyone because it might hinder profit. Their corporate greed and misconduct led thousands of innocent and brave firefighters to develop severe side effects. Ideally, you can learn from these instances since you’re new to the market.
Due to that, victims wanted justice and financial compensation for their suffering. Therefore, they started to file an AFFF lawsuit seeking payouts for wrongful death, medical expenses, loss of wages, permanent disability, etc. The legal industry estimates an individual payout between USD 200,000 and USD 500,000.
According to TorHoerman Law, compensation will depend on the evidence gathered, the attorney’s negotiation skills, injuries caused, etc. Currently, more than 4,700 personal injury and water contamination lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers and distributors of AFFF.
All this proves that your new fire extinguisher supply business cannot have AFFF in the inventory.
5 AFFF Alternatives Every Military Firefighter Should Have Access To
For many decades, AFFF had been the gold standard for extinguishing fuel fires. Many distributors like you have also supplied this fire suppressant to various fire stations, rescue operations, etc. However, recent developments have led AFFF manufacturing and supply to phase out.
That’s why you need new products to start your business with. Take a look at these five AFFF alternatives:
#1. Water Mist Systems
A water mist system uses minuscule droplets to suppress fire. The power of these tiny water droplets creates a mist that acts as a coolant against the heat radiation caused by fires. Manufacturers believe it’s an innovative way to precisely target blazing fires in buildings.
These systems are usually highly effective in enclosed spaces. Why? Well, they can swiftly lower temperatures and reduce oxygen supply. That’s because the size of the water droplets can easily amplify heat absorption on a wide surface area.
Therefore, it can help fight liquid- and solid-based fires, including Class C, A, K, and B. As a new supplier of fire extinguishers, you should distribute water mist systems because they’re an effective fire suppressant.
#2. Cold Fire Suppressants
Recently, you’ve probably noticed fire stations are requesting an eco-friendly way to perform firefighting operations. That’s where Cold Fire suppressants come into the picture. This environmentally-friendly fire extinguishing agent can quickly suppress the fire, cause minimal damage to firefighters, and use less water.
It’s safe because the element cools down the fire 21 times faster than water. It can also remove or encapsulate the sources to avoid reignition. Moreover, the substances used to produce Cold Fire suppressants are non-toxic.
This fire extinguisher is versatile while being non-corrosive and biodegradable. Therefore, you should slowly start distributing this product because it’s gaining popularity among various fire rescue teams.
#3. Fluorine-Free Foams (F3)
You’re probably aware that F3 is the best eco-conscious alternative to AFFF. These firefighting foams don’t have harmful fluorinated surfactants. Instead, they contain polysaccharides that create a bubble on fuel fires and extinguish them.
While F3 isn’t a 100% environmentally friendly alternative, it’s an effective one. Fluorine-free foams can extinguish Class B fuel fires, somewhat similar to how AFFF does. That’s why they’re being used by multiple fire departments nationwide.
However, F3 isn’t as effective as AFFF. That’s why you should ask your clients to use an air-aspirating nozzle and higher expansion rates to maximize efficacy. Only then can this fire suppressant create a massive bubble blanket to suppress dangerous fuel fires.
#4. Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS)
Technically, a CAFS combines water, air, and foam concentrate to create a suppressing solution that helps fight fires. It generates a thick and dense foam that ensures a swift fire-extinguishing operation. CAFS has a cooling property that exceptionally cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply.
Today, it has become an alternative to AFFF for fighting fires caused by hydrocarbons and flammable liquids. Ideally, you can supply CAFS to various fire stations as well as offshore oil facilities, airports, racetracks, etc.
#5. Eco-Gel Firefighting Solution
Eco-Gel is an underrated yet revolutionary fire-extinguishing solution. It’s perfect for fighting Class A and B fires. That’s because Eco-Gel uses a water additive that transforms the water into a gel-like element.
When used to suppress fire, this gel clings to the surface and shields it from the source. As a result, the fire starts cooling down. Ideally, Eco-Gel is biodegradable and doesn’t use any toxic elements, making it a greener alternative to AFFF.
Fire extinguisher distributors like you should supply Eco-Gel because of its effectiveness and sustainability.
In conclusion, you should start your supply business by distributing fire extinguishers that don’t threaten life. Examples include Eco-Gel, water mist systems, F3 suppressants, etc. These can help your future clients fight different classes of fire. Now, you’re ready to start your firefighting equipment supply business.
Also Read: How To Make Your Business More Secure