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Free checklist aims to reduce accidental foam discharge
A new NATA toolkit outlines how to avoid inadvertent foam discharges, which occur almost once a month on average. A checklist offers critical guidance on best practice to avoid such unwanted incidents.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has released a fire marshal toolkit and accidental foam discharge checklist as part of its hangar foam fire suppression system initiative. An educational resource for fire marshals, FBO owners, and operators, the toolkit provides vital information facilitating hangar design and construction conversations and highlighting research and frequency data on inadvertent hangar foam fire suppression system discharges.

This free online resource provides information on FBO operations and includes detailed information on factors impacting the decision to use foam fire suppression in hangars, including aviation fuels, types of foam, aircraft hangar fire protection regulations, possible environmental issues from foam, causes of unwanted foam discharges and insurance considerations.

The toolkit outlines NATA's proposed changes to NFPA 409: Standard on Aircraft Hangars; and with inadvertent foam discharges occurring almost once per month on average, the accidental foam discharge checklist provides critical guidance on what should or should not be done following a hangar foam system discharge.

“Our members have noted that hangar foam systems provide very little risk mitigation due to the very low incidence of hangar fuel fires while dramatically increasing the cost of new hangar development, assertions that have been confirmed by a 2019 University of Maryland research study,” states president and CEO Timothy Obitts. “As part of our initiative to reduce the requirements for foam systems in aircraft hangars, we wanted to assist the industry by developing a resource guide for interacting with local fire officials during new hangar construction.”

Director of regulatory affairs Megan Eisenstein adds: “Until changes to the NFPA 409 standard are made, this resource will serve as a guide to help educate local fire marshals and hangar developers on the safety and environmental risks, as well as the potential of aircraft damage related to accidental discharges of hangar foam suppression systems.”

NATA has thanked Fisher Engineering for its assistance in the development of the toolkit and for those NATA members and nonmembers who donated their expertise and financial support of the initiative.

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