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18 September 03
Highlands & Islands Airport Fire Service Leading Industry in Environmental Standards
New Fire Fighting Foam For Highlands Airports

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited is leading the UK airport industry in environmental compliance by pioneering the use of a new fire fighting foam to be used by its Airport Fire Service.

The airport operator approached Angus Fire, a commercial fire specialist and foam manufacturer, to aid them in developing a training foam that meets the latest environmental standards. A programme has begun to adapt its fire appliances so that they can operate dual systems to meet training and practical fire fighting demands.

The Joint Agency Groundwater Directive Advisory Group (JAGDAG), made up from the Scottish and English environmental agencies, took the decision to re-classify fire fighting foams as a list one substance in the summer of 2002. This decision was based on the high levels of flurosurfactants contained in the foam and their potential to damage the environment. This meant that Highlands and Islands Airports would be unable to discharge foams such as FFFP, other than for operational incidents, and consequently could not comply with the training, test and inspection requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority’s licensing of airports regulations.

HIAL set strict objectives to develop a practical, environmentally friendly and viable solution to this problem. In conjunction with Angus Fire, a company specific training foam, TF3, that emulates the industry standard Petroseal (FFFP) foam, has been developed. This training foam does not contain any flurosurfactants and since February of this year has successfully undergone rigorous testing in both practical fire fighting and appliance induction systems.

In addition to the training foam a system to switch the airports fire appliances between training and operational mode has been designed, developed and tested by Carmichael International. This dual operating system is easy to use and ensures the fire appliances are continually on stand-by.

The foam and dual operating system will be demonstrated to the UK airport industry at Inverness Airport in the autumn.

Paul Hardiman, Divisional Officer with HIAL’s Airport Fire Service said: “The results have exceeded our expectations and it is our intention to retrofit our entire appliance fleet of 23 vehicles with the dual foam conversion. Consequently all our training, test and calibration activities will be conducted using TF3.

“Environmental compliance is an issue we take very seriously as a company and we are delighted that we have been able to develop TF3 in conjunction with Angus Fire to meet the latest regulations. We must stress, however, that TF3 has no operational capability and can only be used for training and testing, FFFP will remain our operational foam.”

Mike Wilson, Angus Fire, said: “This is an important development in fire fighting foam technology. We anticipate that demand for fluorine-free training foams from fire services across Europe will rise in the future and we are very proud to have developed the first foam of its kind in partnership with HIAL.”

Dave Bull, Operations Director at Carmichael International, said: “We are proud to be associated with such a big development in foam technology and the involvement with both HIAL and Angus Fire in a working partnership which has developed a dual media foam system.”