An Arctic Council project has been initiated to transition from firefighting foam agents currently used to control flammable liquid fires because of concerns with their environmental and occupational health performance to types that do not exhibit these concerns.
The current issue
Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is an extinguishing agent used to extinguish flammable liquid fires. It is used in many different sectors and has been the extinguishing agent of choice for these hazards for many years.
In most cases it has been used in training, testing and actual incidents without any attempt to contain it or treat it before allowing it to disperse to the ground or water.
In recent years there has been growing concern about the long term environmental and health effects of one specific family of chemicals that is used extensively in this type of firefighting foam – Per- or Poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) .
 https://www.oecd.org/chemicalsafety/portal-perfluorinated-chemicals/aboutpfass/ ; https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/emerging-chemical-risks-in-europe
Overall Project Objectives
• To identify fluorinated firefighting foam users and applications
• To develop cost effective and appropriate recommendations for the removal of PFAS based firefighting foams for all applications within the Arctic region, and replacement by foams that do not have the same environmental and health effect concerns, without jeopardising levels of risk reduction.
• To arrest legacy issues at current levels
• To provide guidance, training and protocols on the transition to effective alternatives
Lead-countries: Finland, USA
Participating countries: CAN, DK, FI, IS, NO, RF, SE, USA
Consultants: ENRgConsultants (UK), Evgeny Tretyakov (RF)
ENRg Consultants is a specialist Fire Hazard Management independent consultancy company with particular experience and expertise in foam application on a global basis.
How will the Project be carried out?
The project will be managed by a Steering Panel comprising Arctic Council country representatives and other stakeholders with expertise and experience in foam usage.
A phased approach will be taken and the emphasis will be on providing practical, workable guidance on making the transition
Although the most important aspect of a firefighting foam is obviously its firefighting performance, there are other important aspects of thetransition process, all of which will be considered during the project and accounted for in the guidance developed:
AFFF Phase Out in the Arctic Literature Review
Clean Out Protocols