Washington Court House and Fayette County may soon be experiencing a new way to fight fires.
On Saturday morning, firefighters from Washington C.H. and several local volunteer departments attended a training that tested the fire extinguishing capabilities of the F-500 Encapsulator Agent.
F-500 is created by Hazard Control Technologies, Inc. and claims to cool a fire and surrounding structures with the ability to absorb six to 10 times more heat energy than plain water. The product encapsulates fuels by forming micelles or chemical cocoons that render the fuel nonflammable and non-ignitable. The product is also made to interrupt the free radical chain reaction, resulting in less smoke and toxins and increasing visibility.
Depending on the percentage of the product mixed with water, it is effective against most fires from wood, paper, cloth, and rubber to magnesium, titanium, and aluminum.
Currently, fires are fought by using a foam agent that creates a blanket that lies on top of the fire and over time, smothers the fire until it’s out. The problem with foam occurs when the blanket is ruptured and embers reignite, causing a flare up.
A major selling point of F-500 is the quick knockdown capability and burnback resistance. Saturday, after being shown video of tests performed in different conditions, local firefighters saw firsthand that F-500 rapidly cooled and extinguished the fires, while also rendering re-ignition impossible.
Tests showed that less F-500 was required than foam, as well as less water, making F-500 more cost-efficient as well as effective.
“We learned a lot Saturday,” Washington C.H. Fire Chief Tom Youtz said. “Now, I had some guys that were really skeptical going into this training, but by the end of it, they were believers.”
The training included testing on wooden pallets, PVC, two vehicles, kerosene, and ethanol.
“We got one vehicle out in 20-some seconds, and we tried to re-ignite it and it just wouldn’t happen,” Youtz said.
“I don’t think we’ll actually see this getting added to our trucks until the beginning of the year, but I’m really thrilled with what we learned during training,”said Youtz. “This will not only help with costs overall, it’s going to help with time spent on a fire and recovery.”
Once a consensus is reached on the benefits of this new product, a proposal is expected to be made for its implementation.
Reach Kellee Bonnell at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @newskelleebee.