Airmen test foam suppression system
By Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 04, 2013
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Every two years Airmen from the 366th Civil Engineering Squadron are required to test the foam fire suppression system in specific hangars in order to ensure the safety of personnel who work inside.
This test is an opportunity for Airmen to participate in and witness a unique safety measure designed to protect hangar personnel and equipment.
"We tested the foam fire suppression system inside Hangar 211 by tripping the system at an actual hand-pull station," said Tech. Sgt. Garrett Matthews, 366th CES water fuels systems maintenance noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "Then the foam dispensed from the generators while we checked for proper foam expansion. Once the foam tank valve is shut off we let water run through the pipes to flush it from the system to prevent corrosion within the pipes and fire system valve."
Next Airmen open the hangar doors to allow the foam to settle naturally outside. Last the residual foam is cleaned by using squeegees to remove water and foam.
"The technical name for the high expansion foam we are using is Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF," said Matthews. "The type used in the Hangar 211 is two percent concentrate and is designed to engulf and suffocate a fire by depriving it of oxygen. However, the most important purpose of testing the system is to protect the people, aircraft and facility in case of a fire."
The AFFF is specifically designed to extinguish fires caused by carbon-based fuels such as JP-8.
"The normal wet-pipe systems do not provide the protection needed to be able to perform aircraft operations in a hangar," said Matthews. "These tests will ensure the aircraft maintainers working inside this hangar will have a safe place to perform their operations and in the event of a fire the system will protect their lives as well as property of the United States Air Force."
This test is one example of the work Airmen from water and fuel systems do ensuring mission readiness from behind the scenes.
"Our water and fuel systems maintenance personnel are unseen key members who ensure our installation systems for fire suppression, waste disposal, clean safe drinking water and many others are kept in pristine working order," said Senior Master Sgt. Davis Boerman, 366th CES operations superintendent. "I am very proud to work with such an outstanding team."