Safety’s sustainable shift with FireDos

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Stuart Phythian, FireDos GmbH Regional Manager MENA, highlights FireDos’s pioneering efforts in adopting fluorine-free firefighting technologies

The shift from traditional foam firefighting methods to fluorine-free foam is a significant movement within the fire safety industry, driven by environmental concerns and regulatory changes.

As a leading manufacturer of firefighting equipment, FireDos is at the forefront of this transition, offering expertise in foam firefighting with a focus on Class B fires involving flammable liquids.

This article will explore the complexity of foam firefighting and the role of FireDos in assisting end-users and contractors in the transition to fluorine-free solutions.

With a history of innovation, such as their unique proportioning systems that negate the need for foam in testing, FireDos continues to evolve their product offerings to meet new challenges.

Stuart Phythian, FireDos GmbH Regional Manager MENA, SEA, AUS, discusses the technical considerations of changing over to fluorine-free agents, including equipment compatibility and performance criteria, and how FireDos is facilitating a smoother transition for their clients with their comprehensive guidelines and support services


There are several challenges that we see.

For one, a lot of users are not even aware of the environmental problems fluorinated firefighting foams pose.

If they are aware, we see that in many instances, end users are not aware that a simple exchange of the foam is not sufficient.

A transition concept is required to ensure the proper operation of the extinguishing system with the new synthetic fluorine-free foam (SFFF).

It is necessary to review what portions of the extinguishing systems can be reused and which components are fluorine-contaminated and have to be cleaned to avoid future cross-contamination of the SFFF foam agent.

Application rates and extinguishment times

The FireDos GEN III equipment is specifically designed to handle highly viscous foam agents, such as SFFF.

Due to the design and the purpose-built components, an exact proportion over a wide flow range is guaranteed.

This advantage has been proven during the extensive FM certification process.

As confirmation,  we do a 100% quality check of all proportioners before delivery to the customer.

During dynamic testing, numerous measurement data are collected and compared with the information on the datasheet.

We measure the start-up flow rate, confirming the minimum value to achieve a steady proportioning rate in accordance with the datasheet specifications.

We also measure the proportioning rate at the medium and maximum water flow rate of every proportioner.

The proportioning rate test is followed by a static pressure test, where we check the proportioner for pressure integrity.

Quality matters; our test reports prove that our products keep the promises made on the data sheets.

A history of proportioning systems

The FireDos proportioning systems, developed over twenty years ago, offer several enduring benefits that are still relevant today.

One of their primary benefits is being Purely Mechanical and Highly Reliable.

These systems, comprising a water motor and piston pump, are known for their absolute functional safety.

Being mechanically driven solely by water flow, they negate the need for electricity or a backup power supply, enhancing their reliability in diverse scenarios.

Another significant advantage of these systems is the Unlimited Firefighting Time.

This is possible because the separate foam agent tank is unpressurised and can be refilled whenever necessary, allowing users to benefit from an uninterrupted firefighting capability.

The systems are also designed to be compatible For All Foam Agent Types, capable of handling all types of foam concentrates, including highly viscous, alcohol-resistant, and fluorine-free foam agents.

This versatility ensures they can be used in a wide range of firefighting scenarios.

Moreover, these proportioning systems are suitable For All Types of Fire Extinguishing Systems.

Thanks to their wide operating range, they are qualified for all fire extinguishing systems, including sprinkler, deluge, wet, and dry extinguishing systems.

A key feature of the FireDos systems is their Constant Proportioning Rate across a wide operating range.

This guarantees safe proportioning and efficient firefighting in every situation, ensuring that the correct amount of foam agent is always used.

Additionally, the systems offer a unique benefit of Testing the Proportioning Rate Without Firefighting Foam or Premix.

The purely mechanical system provides a cost-efficient and eco-friendly way to test the proportioning rate, completely without fire fighting foam.

Even when switching over to SFFF foam agents, these benefits keep their importance.

The ability to precisely proportion high-viscosity foam agents is even more important, as the SFFF tend to be more viscous.

In addition, the testing of the proportioning rate without producing foam or premix will have a more prominent position as the environmental aspects grow.

Environmental impacts

FireDos has seen its mission in designing and manufacturing more efficient extinguishing systems by innovation for decades.

This has always been a guiding principle in preventive and defensive fire protection.

Thanks to durable technologies and innovative developments, it protects lives and property and makes the planet safer in the long term.

During the development phase of its foam proportioners, one of the focal points of FireDos was the question of how the product could help reduce the environmental impact.

On one hand, this will be during the manufacturing process; on the other, it will be looking at the firefighting aspect itself.

The range of environmental protection measures for fire protection is quite diverse and includes several innovative approaches.

One such measure is the design of products that facilitate an easy switch to non-fluorinated foam agents, thereby reducing environmental impact.

The longevity of the product is another key aspect, ensuring extended use without frequent replacement.

FireDos has been ISO 14001 certified for over 20 years, demonstrating a consistent annual reduction in our carbon footprint.

Our products are purely mechanical, eliminating the need for external power sources, which further reduces our environmental impact.

Additionally, there’s an emphasis on the efficient use of resources, such as the return of foam concentrate when testing mixing rates, and the reduction of water supply by offering technology designed to produce wetting agents.

This not only conserves water but also leads to more efficient extinguishing, resulting in less collateral damage to the environment.

Transition to fluorine-free foam agents

The retrofitting of existing fire extinguishing systems for use with fluorine-free foam agents is a key topic for installers, operators and fire departments.

Therefore, FireDos has put together an individual consulting package, enabling customers to select the right proportioner for this purpose.

It also tells you whether an existing FireDos proportioner can be cleaned or needs replacing.

FireDos will check: if the existing proportioner is suitable for the new SFFF foam agent; if the existing suction line is suitable for the new SFFF foam agent; which further action must be taken regarding the proportioner; and whether and how an existing proportioner can be retrofitted to handle the new SFFF foam agent.

Converting a proportioner for SFFF

FireDos recommends a comprehensive set of steps to assist in converting a proportioner for use with SFFF agents, ensuring suitability and effectiveness for specific fire risks.

Initially, it’s crucial to select an SFFF that is appropriate for the fire risk at hand, which may involve conducting specific fire tests.

The next step is to validate the application rates and determine the new minimum and maximum design water flows.

This involves a thorough validation of the hydraulic design, including reviewing the water tank capacity or water supply, fire pump flow and head, piping diameters, and valve sizes.

Additionally, it’s important to assess whether the foam outlet devices, such as sprinklers, foam pourers, monitors, etc., are compatible with the new SFFF, particularly in terms of expansion ratio.

Another vital step is checking the foam agent quantity and tank capacity based on the new application and proportioning rate.

This includes a review of the existing proportioning system to determine if the new and old proportioning rates are identical, the allowable operating range of the proportioner with SFFF, and the proportioner’s capability to admix SFFF with high viscosity, as many existing systems may not be adequate for this task.

Lastly, it’s essential to ensure that the design of the foam agent suction line and foam agent tank outlet are suitable for the SFFF.

These steps are critical for a successful transition to using fluorine-free foam agents in fire protection systems.

The future of FireDos

FireDos has a history of enhancing its proportioning technology.

Since 1994, when FireDos introduced its first water-motor driven foam proportioner to the firefighting industry, over 15.000 systems have been installed worldwide.

FireDos is presently selling its third generation of proportioning systems, which encompass several patent-pending technologies.

We continue to enhance the product to keep ahead of the changing demands in firefighting and foam agent properties.

Earlier this year, we introduced our Smart proportioners for remote testing and monitoring.

This way, we can guarantee the faultless operation of a fire extinguishing system.

As regular maintenance to the proportioners is a must, ‘Smart Proportioners’ optimise the maintenance processes and allow remote troubleshooting, which ultimately enhances reliability and reduces costs.

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Intersec Dubai will take place between the 16th and 18th of January at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai. FireDos’s Stand Number is Stand 3.A30

This article was originally published in the January 2024 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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