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AFFF: The Essential Firefighting Solution for Extinguishing Flammable Liquid Fires

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AFFF: The Essential Firefighting Solution for Extinguishing Flammable Liquid Fires

When it comes to fighting fires caused by flammable liquids, Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is the go-to solution. In this article, we will delve into the world of AFFF, exploring its characteristics, benefits, and applications. We will also discuss the factors that need to be considered when using AFFF, ensuring its optimal efficacy in firefighting scenarios. Whether you are a firefighter, a business owner, or simply interested in fire safety, understanding AFFF and its role in extinguishing flammable liquid fires is essential. So let's dive in and explore the indispensable solution that is AFFF.

Understanding AFFF

Understanding AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) is essential for anyone working in industries that deal with flammable liquids and fires. AFFF is a firefighting foam that has been widely used for decades due to its effectiveness in suppressing fires. It is primarily used in oil refineries, airports, chemical plants, and other high-risk environments.

AFFF works by forming a thin, aqueous film on the surface of the flammable liquid, effectively separating the fuel from the oxygen in the air. This film prevents the release of flammable vapors and suppresses the fire. The foam also has cooling properties, which further aid in fire suppression.

One of the key advantages of AFFF is its ability to rapidly extinguish both hydrocarbon and polar solvent fires. Hydrocarbon fires are caused by flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, while polar solvent fires involve substances like alcohol, acetone, and paint thinners. AFFF is specifically formulated to tackle these different types of fires effectively.

In addition to its fire suppression capabilities, AFFF also possesses excellent wetting and spreading properties. This means that it can quickly cover a large area, ensuring that the foam reaches all parts of the fire. The foam can also cling to vertical surfaces, providing a longer-lasting barrier against reignition.

When using AFFF, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines. Proper training and understanding of the foam's properties are crucial to ensure its effective deployment. It is also essential to consider the environmental impact of AFFF, as it contains chemical compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These compounds can persist in the environment and have raised concerns about their potential long-term effects.

Benefits and Applications of AFFF

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a highly effective firefighting agent that has gained significant popularity in recent years. Its unique properties and versatile applications have made it an essential tool in fire suppression efforts across various industries. AFFF is particularly renowned for its ability to quickly extinguish flammable liquid fires, making it an invaluable asset in combating emergencies involving petroleum-based products.

One of the key benefits of AFFF is its exceptional firefighting capabilities. When AFFF is applied to a burning liquid, it forms a thin film on the surface, effectively smothering the flames and preventing re-ignition. This film acts as a barrier, preventing the release of flammable vapors and suppressing the fire within seconds. This rapid response time is crucial in emergency situations, as it can significantly minimize the potential for property damage and loss of life.

Another advantage of AFFF is its wide range of applications. It can be used in various settings, including industrial facilities, airports, military bases, and even on board ships. AFFF is especially useful in environments where flammable liquids are present, such as fuel storage areas, chemical plants, and oil refineries. The versatility of AFFF is further enhanced by its compatibility with different firefighting equipment, including foam generators, handlines, and fixed systems.

In addition to its firefighting capabilities, AFFF also offers environmental benefits. Unlike some older foam formulations, AFFF is formulated to be biodegradable, minimizing its impact on the environment. This is particularly important in situations where the foam may come into contact with water bodies or sensitive ecosystems. AFFF's biodegradability ensures that any residual foam will break down over time, reducing the potential for long-term environmental harm.

When it comes to implementing AFFF as part of a comprehensive fire safety strategy, it is crucial to consider the proper storage, handling, and disposal of the foam concentrate. AFFF should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. It is also important to regularly inspect and maintain the firefighting equipment to ensure its functionality in case of an emergency.

Factors to Consider when Using AFFF

When it comes to using AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam), there are several important factors to consider. AFFF is a firefighting foam commonly used to extinguish flammable liquid fires, such as those involving gasoline, oil, and other petroleum-based products. It is crucial to understand how to properly use and handle AFFF to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

One of the key factors to consider when using AFFF is the concentration of the foam. AFFF is typically available in different concentrations, ranging from 1% to 6%. The concentration of the foam determines its effectiveness in extinguishing fires. Higher concentrations are generally more effective in suppressing fires, but they may also leave behind a thicker layer of foam residue. It is important to select the appropriate concentration based on the specific fire risk and the nature of the flammable liquids involved.

Another factor to consider is the application method. AFFF can be applied using different equipment, such as hand-held extinguishers, foam generators, or fixed foam systems. The choice of application method depends on the size and type of fire, as well as the available resources. It is essential to have the necessary equipment and training to effectively apply AFFF and control the fire.

Furthermore, it is crucial to understand the limitations of AFFF. While AFFF is highly effective in suppressing flammable liquid fires, it may not be suitable for all types of fires. It is not recommended for use on electrical fires or fires involving reactive metals, such as lithium or magnesium. In such cases, alternative firefighting methods or extinguishing agents should be used.

Additionally, proper storage and handling of AFFF are essential to maintain its effectiveness. AFFF should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. It is important to regularly inspect the foam concentrate for any signs of degradation or contamination. If any issues are detected, the foam concentrate should be replaced to ensure its reliability during a fire emergency.


AFFF, or Aqueous Film Forming Foam, is a valuable tool for industries dealing with fires and flammable liquids. It can suppress both hydrocarbon and polar solvent fires and has wetting and spreading properties that make it effective in firefighting. However, it is important to use AFFF responsibly and consider its environmental impact. By incorporating AFFF into fire safety protocols, businesses can enhance their ability to respond effectively to emergencies and protect assets and personnel. Firefighters and emergency responders should consider factors such as foam concentration, application method, and limitations of AFFF to ensure its effectiveness and safety in extinguishing flammable liquid fires.

About Suolong
Founded in 1967, Suolong Fire, is a leading manufacturer of fire fighting foam in China, accredited to ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001, ISO50001. 

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