Civil Aviation Authority moves forward with qualified product list for foam

Published:  26 September, 2012

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is seeking comments on its proposal to establish a Qualified Product List (QPL) for aviation fire fighting foam.

The performance requirements for aviation fire fighting foam are set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). In the near future ICAO will require the certification of the fire fighting performance to be validated by a third party testing authority.To avoid duplication, reduce environmental impact, reduce costs to both manufacturers and aerodrome operators and to provide clarity and conformity the CAA intends to establish a QPL for fire fighting foam that both performs to the ICAO standards and declares its environmental impact.

Fire fighting performance of foams is accredited by a fire test to one of 3 ICAO levels, A, B or C. To become listed on the QPL the CAA will require evidence of the foams performance. The evidence can be provided by witnessed tests; either by the CAA or other suitable accreditation organisations. Both a certificate of conformity and video evidence will be required as evidence.

The requirement for third party testing is aligned to the updating of the ICAO testing procedure and reflects the objective of aviation fire fighting to control the fire in the critical area that surrounds an aircraft fuselage to allow the occupants (passengers and crew) to escape. The fire testing for the development of the new ICAO Level C standard and use of CAFS on aviation fires has provided evidence for these changes.

The environmental impact of fire fighting foam requires clear, simple and straightforward advice on its short term (acute) and longer term (chronic) effects on the environment, usually to water catchment areas. This advice can then be used by aerodrome operators together with local knowledge of their environmental profile and water treatment systems to inform procurement decisions for fire fighting foam. The chemical constituents of foam will be assessed by an independent laboratory and their impact on the environment will be shown in a clear and consistent manner similar to energy labels.

By establishing a QPL the UK CAA aims to provide a one-stop shop for purchasers to be assured of both the fire fighting performance and the environmental impact of the foam.

An Information Paper setting out the requirements for providing evidence of fire fighting performance and environmental impact has been developed and is available on the Consultations area of the CAA website - Or click here.

The CAA would now like to invite stakeholders to review and comment on the Information Paper - Fire Fighting Foam by the closing date of 18 January 2013. A comments form is appended to the consultation web page for completion and submission to the CAA

CAA Contact:

Simon Webb

  • Operation Florian

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