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Control measure

Foam delivery

Control measure knowledge

When using foam to fight a fire, consideration should be given to the technique and equipment for delivery. In general, foam is made by mixing a foam concentrate with water to create a foam solution and then aspirated through some form of equipment. The mixing can be done as a premix solution in which the foam concentrate is introduced into the water stream at an earlier stage, usually by some form of induction or injection equipment, or mixing can take place in the foam-making equipment as it is aspirated. This type of foam-making equipment is fitted with a means of picking up foam concentrate through a length of tube, known as self-inducing.

Two main types of foam equipment are described here:

  • Foam-making equipment (foam-making branches, foam-making generators, etc.)
  • Foam concentrate induction and injection equipment (inline inductors, etc.)

The primary aspirating foam-making equipment used by fire services can be divided into the following main categories:

  • LX (low-expansion foam) handheld foam-making branches
  • LX handheld hose reel foam unit
  • LX foam generators
  • LX foam monitors
  • MX (medium-expansion foam) handheld foam-making branches
  • LX and MX handheld water branch attachments
  • MX foam pourers
  • HX (high-expansion foam) generators

Refer to the Firefighting equipment knowledge sheets for information on foam-making equipment

See also: National Operational Guidance: Environmental protection.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Develop a foam media firefighting strategy in conjunction with site-specific risk information, the community risk register, the national risk register and consultation with local emergency planning groups, the environment agencies, neighbouring services and national resilience capabilities. Further information can be referenced at Logistic operations for emergency supplies - Publications - GOV.UK
  • Develop tactical guidance and support arrangements for the hazards and actions to be taken when using foam and associated equipment for firefighting purposes

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider using foam as an extinguishing media and adopt the appropriate application technique
  • Be aware that foam can obscure surface hazards (e.g. holes, kerbs)