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Information Bulletin from FPA Australia: Selection and Use of Firefighting Foams

The FSSA Global Outreach Committee is connecting with other like organizations with the goal of sharing information across the industry.  The Fire Protection Association of Australia published the following information bulletin, Selection and Use of Firefighting Foams.

The purpose of this Information Bulletin is to increase awareness of the issues surrounding the selection and use of firefighting foams based on their:

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NFPA 855 Series: How Do Fire Codes Impact Lithium Ion Battery Safety?

Part of the FSSA NFPA 855 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems Series

How do we try to make these as safe as possible? It starts for us with the codes and standards. You have the International Code Council, which is the ICC, that creates the International Fire Code, the International Building Code. We have the National Fire Protection Association, the NFPA. We also have to have standards testing. UL has UL 9540, which is the listing for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). You look at all the codes and the codes will require UL 9540 listing for all batteries. And the test is the 9540 A test. So these have all been updated and worked on after McMicken, after Victoria in Australia, after Moss landing, after all of the fires. We're doing a much better job about getting everyone together in a room and creating better codes.

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NFPA 855 Series: What an AHJ learned from the McMicken Energy Storage Facility Owned by Arizona Public Service Co.

Part of the FSSA NFPA 855 Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems Series

We always try to learn lessons. What worked well, what didn't work well. McMicken showed us that a clean agent type fire protection system alone is not adequate. We need something else. We need sprinklers. If we're going to be in an occupiable space, once again, we know that sprinklers don't control the thermal runaway, so all we're really doing is cooling it. Now, sprinkler water, as well as the water mist system, is really good about keeping vapors down, which is another thing that we're working on here in the valley with one of our battery installations. But sprinklers alone are not going to control the thermal runaway. It's going to do its thing until it's done.

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Research Report: Effect of High Airflow and Aisle Containment on Clean Agent System Performance in Data Centers

A Joint Study by the Fire Suppression Systems Association and the Fire Industry Association (UK)

Issued November 1, 2023 - Released December 15, 2023

"The Fire Industry Association (FIA), a non-profit organisation, has pledged to dedicate a portion of its yearly revenue to support joint research initiatives that contribute to the well-being of its members, the industry, or public safety. Collaboration with other organisations is integral to the success of these projects. The partnership with the Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA) exemplifies the FIA's steadfast commitment to this initiative." - Robert Thilthorpe, Technical Manager, Fire Industry Association

“This research report is the culmination of almost six years’ collaboration between the UK’s Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the USA’s Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA).  The research demonstrated that continuous recirculating airflow can enhance uniformity of gaseous agent concentrations in data center applications, even in spaces where aisle containments are present.  The conclusions of the report should be quite useful to those responsible for designing and maintaining clean agent fire extinguishing systems for data centers” - Tom Wysocki, Technical Director, Fire Suppression Systems Association

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Differentiating PFAS Series: How Do I Know What Gas Supplier I Can Use Following a Discharge of My Novec 1230 System?

If one is working through a distributor or an installing contractor that has a supply agreement or a contract with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the equipment that is listed using Novec 1230 fluid, they are likely listed with FK-5-1-12 from alternative suppliers as well. Novec 1230 is a neat (single component) agent. It is typically discharged from a cylinder with a nitrogen super pressurization or one with a separate nitrogen tank design used in a piston flow fashion giving a “push” to it.

It is recommended that one first checks with the original equipment manufacturer and their representative installing contractor to make sure they are supplying it with a listed or approved system. And second, make sure that they have a certificate of analysis assuring the quality of the clean agent material.

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Differentiating PFAS Series: What is the Future Liability Potential for Using Clean Agents?

 

There has not been a sufficient concern to compel regulatory authorities to put restrictions on the use of Halon from a persistent standpoint, and for other reasons. The PFCs, HFCs, and HCFCs, are all being regulated for other reasons, based on ozone depletion potential (ODP), global warming potential (GWP), and so forth. The European ECHA has a proposal in place but at this point in time, clean agents are considered for derogation in the proposal.

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Differentiating PFAS Series: Should I Be Worried About the Future of Novec 1230?


In December 2022, 3M announced its plans to exit the manufacturing of 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid and their fluorochemical line of products completely by 2025, shocking the fire protection industry, as no one saw it coming. There is still a lot of excitement and maybe some angst or concern out in the marketplace. The best advice is to stay calm because regulatory resolution is not something that will unfold very quickly. There currently exist proposed changes offered or enacted state legislation that have taken place, particularly here in the United States. Even with current action, time is needed to determine what really needs to be done. There will be much discussion but watch for action.

Halocarbon clean agents are not going away anytime soon. Halon manufacturing was banned in Article One countries back on December 31st, 1992, at 11:59 PM EST, yet decades later we still see halon systems in use. This is not to say that things will be exactly the same for systems using Novec 1230 fluid, but these things do not tend to move very quickly. What is important is that halocarbons are not going away anytime soon, and 3M has made it clear that they plan to honor their commitments to fulfill orders of the product already made.


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Differentiating PFAS Series: Industry Assessment of Trifluoroacetic Acid (TFA) and the PFAS Problem


Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) actually meets the definition of PFAS because it has a CF3 radical on the molecule. Researchable comments exist regarding the fate of trifluoroacetic acid, like from Columbia Climate School Center. The source of the currently observed levels is unknown and puzzling according to them. In 2001, the observed TFA concentrations were orders of magnitude larger than those predicted to result from the atmospheric degradation of the replacement of HCFCs and HFCs. The Columbia researchers noted that at the time FK-5-1-12 was not even commercialized.

Another collaborative study was conducted in 2002 and published in Environmental Science and Technology by the Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, the Department of Environmental Chemistry and Eco Toxicity in Germany, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and NOAA. The purpose of that study was to estimate TFA in ocean waters, given the material is strongly hydrophilic, and to assess whether today's levels are mainly from anthropogenic origin or whether biological or geological sources must be considered. Their conclusion at that time was that TFA is present in the global environment in two major compartments, in the ocean water and in the atmosphere, and in other areas, precipitation and fresh waters and so forth.

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Differentiating PFAS Series: Is the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Going to Ban FK-5-1-12 in the Future?

 

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is currently accepting comments in the REACH restriction process regarding future use of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including those used in fire protection like FK-5-1-12. This is a three-phase process according to ECHA. Phase 1 is preparation and submission of a restriction proposal, beginning with notification of intent to submit a restriction, then the registry of intentions, preparing the restriction dossier, and then submission and conformity check. Phase 2-A, a consultations phase, includes a consultation on the restriction report and a consultation on the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) draft opinion. Phase 2-B is an opinion development phase that includes advice from the forum, RACs opinion and SEACs opinion. Finally, Phase 3 is the decision and follow-up phase including commission decision on the restriction, complying with the restriction, and enforcing the restriction. Regarding FK-5-1-12 as well as other halocarbon clean agents, ECHA is currently in the second phase which, again in itself has two phases; consultations and opinion development. So, once completed, with comments taken until 25 September 2023, there will be a decision and follow up on what the regulation is going to be in Europe.

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Differentiating PFAS Series: Can FK-5-1-12 Break Down into Harmful Levels of CO2?


 

The atmospheric degradation mechanism of FK-5-1-12 looks like this as a balanced equation C2F5(O)CF(CF3)2—-->4CO2+CF3COOH+9HF. Taniguchi concludes the photolysis of the ketone in the air results in a radical, uh, and also carbonyl fluoride will be incorporated in the air cloud and seawater where it'll undergo hydrolysis to, to give the trifluoroacetic acid. Similarly, the carbonyl fluoride will undergo hydrolysis to give CO2 and HF. The CO2, as well as any of these, the other two products that result from reacting with ketone at the concentrations expected in the environment is not considered harmful according to Taniguchi. The concentrations expected from what is going to be emitted into the atmosphere, combined with a short atmospheric lifetime, the global warming potential is negligible.


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Register Today for the Next FSSA Webinar - October 2023

FSSA Webinar: Going Fluorine Free – Converting a Legacy AFFF System to Fluorine-Free Foam

Thursday, October 5, 2023
12:00 pm Eastern

AFFF foam systems have been the standard for ignitable liquid firefighting for the past 40+ years. While an excellent extinguishing agent, the fluorinated compounds in AFFF have come under scrutiny in the past several years, with restrictions or outright bans on its use in many states. Fluorine-free foams have entered the market as replacements for AFFF, but no drop-in replacements exist. This case study looks at one of the first fluorine-free foam systems in New England to replace an existing legacy AFFF system. Differences in how fluorine-free foams work versus AFFF, which directly impacted the basis of design, along with the site-specific challenges that were overcome, will be discussed; along with the challenges that other fluorine-free replacement projects will face and tips to mitigate them.


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Differentiating PFAS Series: What is PFAS?


 

The acronym PFAS is short for per or polyfluoroalkyl substance. Depending on the source, there are up to 15,000 products or materials that meet the definition of PFAS. PFAS includes a broad category of materials that can be solids, liquids or gasses. Some fire protection materials, defined as PFAS, that are components in aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) are considered persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT). Because of this, their use in fire protection and other applications is being phased out globally by the U.S. EPA and other regulatory agencies.


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FSSA Publishes Statement on PFAS Regulation

At the request of FSSA membership, the FSSA PFAS Task Force has published the FSSA Advocacy Statement on Clean Agent Fire Suppressants and PFAS Regulation.

This document supports FSSA’s position that a “total ban” approach to PFAS compounds could impact society’s ability to protect mission critical applications, which keep people safe. Any legislation or regulation that restricts the manufacture, import, distribution, sale, or use of PFAS should exclude Clean Agents when they are used in fire and explosion protection applications. The document outlines the difference between PFAS, clean agents fire suppressants, and clean agents to help clearly define this issue for our members and provide fact-based information and guidance to regulators, AHJs, architects, the consulting design community, and other industry stakeholders. FSSA supports rational science-based efforts to eliminate sources of harm to humans and the environment. Due to the high risk to society in eliminating all PFAS materials due to an unnecessarily broad classification of compounds, we advocate for a scientific approach that distinguishes between Persistent,  Bioaccumulative and Toxic PFAS (PBTs) compounds from those which are not known to be PBT, based upon the best available science.

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FSSA and Euralarm Sign MOC

FSSA and European-based Euralarm have recently signed a memorandum of cooperation together. The reciprocal cooperation will focus on education, research, service, and other related activities in the domain of fire safety. Areas of cooperation may include technical guidance, research and development, thought leadership, and collaboration.

About Euralarm

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An Update from the FSSA PFAS Task Force

FSSA Members:

We hope everyone is enjoying the start of summer! The FSSA PFAS Task Force has been continuing to meet weekly to provide updates, resources, and webinars for you. 

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June 15 is the Next FSSA Webinar

FSSA Webinar: Differentiating PFAS

Thursday, June 15, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern
Presented by: Paul Rivers, FSSA Honorary Member

Per and polyfluoro alkyl compounds (PFAS) in end use are ubiquitous in society today.  PFAS are essential for modern life to which we are accustomed.  From semiconductors, computers, smart phones, pharmaceuticals, to BESS systems, refrigerants, fire protection foams and clean agents, pipe thread tape, dental floss, our car engines, to even the planes in which we fly, it is hard to imagine life without PFAS.

But, like good and bad cholesterol, there are good and bad PFAS.  Unfortunately, ‘good’ PFAS, comprising the vast majority of the estimated 7,500 to 15,000 materials meeting the PFAS definition depending on the reference, are conflated with the minimal number of ‘bad’ PFAS.  Thus, people mistakenly label the good the same as the bad.  Most notably in the fire suppression industry, ‘bad’ PFAS are the PFOS and PFOA contained in aqueous film forming foam, or AFFF, heretofore in general use.



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FSSA Technical Committee Meeting - June 13, 2023

The FSSA Technical Committee meetings are held three times a year and is a great way to learn and share technical information about the special hazards fire suppression industry. There are nine installer members and nine manufacturer members who are part of the committee. FSSA members and guests are invited and encouraged to attend. 

The next technical committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13 from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm Eastern at BFPE International in Baltimore, MD. The committee will be hosting their meeting both in-person and online via zoom.

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FSSA Message from the President

Brenton Harris, 2023-2024 FSSA President

FSSA Members:

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Register Today for the Next FSSA Webinar on NFPA 855

FSSA Webinar: NFPA 855 - Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems

Tuesday, April 25, 2023
12:00 pm Eastern

As a Deputy Fire Marshal that has seen the impact of ESS fires and incidents as well as a member of the NFPA 855 committee, Brian will share his perspective on how the code was developed, highlight lessons learned from serious ESS incidents, and how the code should be interpreted and applied.

Presenter:

Brian Scholl, Deputy Fire Marshall, Phoenix Fire Department



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Last chance to register for the FSSA Annual Forum before pricing increases

Last chance to register for the FSSA Annual Forum before pricing increases
Bring in the new year with a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for FSSA's Annual Forum from February 23-27, 2023. Attendees will have access to educational sessions, best practices, and industry discussions taking place, as well as a little fun sprinkled in with beach Olympics and networking at the partner expo.

Regular registration rates are available until January 17, 2023.  Save today!  Click here for more details

Delegate
Regular registration until January 17
$1099.00

Delegate
Late registration starting January 18
$1299.00









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