Presented on April 20, 2023 | Presentation Slides



 “DoD’s Systematic Approach for Developing Firefighting Performance Metrics for Approving Fluorine-Free Foams (F3s) for Land-Based Applications” by Mr. Jerry Back (WP19-5324 | WP20-5373 | WP19-5374 |WP21-3461 | WP21-3465

Five SERDP/ESTCP projects were conducted over the past four years to develop the firefighting performance metrics for the new land-based miliary specification (MIL-PRF-32725). During the first project, a detailed literature search was conducted to identify commercially available F3 products. Of the 70 products marketed as “environmentally friendly” AFFF alternatives, 25 were selected and tested against approval scale fires (i.e., 28 square foot pan fires conducted with gasoline and Jet A). During these screening tests, five products demonstrated superior firefighting capabilities and were selected for additional testing against all the requirements (physical and chemical properties and fire performance tests) in the legacy AFFF military specification (MIL-PRF-24385). In addition to the legacy tests, many of the tests were repeated with modified parameters (such as fuel type) to better understand the capabilities of these products. Although not as good as the legacy AFFFs, the fluorine-free foams performed very well, supporting the need for full-scale (extremely large) validation tests. The validation tests were conducted over a two-year period at NAWC-China Lake using the same facilities and fire scenarios that were the basis for the development of AFFF over 40 years ago. This webinar will provide a summary of results from the five projects funded to date to identify F3 performance metrics as well as the lessons learned along the way. 

“Fluorine-Free Foam Military Specification Publication and Product Qualification” by Mr. Tom Ruffini 

Since its development in the 1960s, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has been the Technical Warrant Holder for the AFFF military specification (MIL-PRF-24385). The US Congress tasked the Secretary of the Navy, via the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, with publishing a new military specification (MILSPEC) for a fluorine-free firefighting agent for use at all military installations. The Secretary of the Navy delegated responsibility for this effort to NAVSEA, who published the MIL-PRF-32725 Fire Extinguishing Agent, Fluorine-Free Foam (F3) Liquid Concentrate, for Land-Based, Fresh Water Applications ahead of the Congressionally imposed deadline of January 31, 2023. This was achieved by working collaboratively with experts across the DoD, including lead fire researchers from the Naval Research Laboratory and Jensen Hughes, Naval Air Systems Command, for nearly two years prior to commencing drafting of the new MILSPEC. Major stakeholders from government and industry were engaged early in the spec development process. Today, NAVSEA continues to search for agents that can be tested and successfully qualified to MIL-PRF-32725 to expeditiously support the DoD effort to begin transition from AFFF to F3 at DoD shore-based installations. This webinar will cover the highlights of the F3 MILSPEC development and provide an overview of the importance of, and process associated with, product qualification. 

Speaker Biographies 

Mr. Jerry Back is a Senior Fire Protection Engineer with Jensen Hughes, Inc., out of Baltimore, Maryland. He has been with the company since its inception (as Hughes Associate) and has over 38 years of experience covering the spectrum of fire protection issues. Over the course of his career, Mr. Back has published over 100 papers on fire protection related topics and has been responsible for project management and administration (planning, execution, and analysis) of fire protection research, development, testing, and evaluation programs. He has performed thousands of full-scale fire tests including evaluations of AFFF agents and systems, aerosols, high expansion foam systems, gaseous agents, water mist systems, and water spray/delude systems. He has worked on major projects for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and commercial clients. He is either the Principal or Alternate on all 12 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) foam and aviation committees. Mr. Back received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland. 

Mr. Thomas Ruffini is a fire protection engineer with the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, D.C. He joined NAVSEA in 2019, coming from U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) headquarters, where he served in several positions, including Director of Fire and Emergency Services with responsibility for fire-related policy and programs for USMC installations worldwide. Prior to his work with the Marines, Mr. Ruffini worked for the Department of the Treasury and for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) as an Emergency Management Specialist and Fire Protection Engineer, respectively. He began his federal civil service at NAVFAC headquarters in 1999 as a Fire Protection Engineering Intern. Mr. Ruffini is a licensed Fire Protection Engineer in the State of Maryland. He was an active firefighter/EMT with the Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Services Department for over a decade and is a Life Member of the College Park Volunteer Fire Department where he served in numerous administrative and operational leadership positions including Deputy Fire Chief. Mr. Ruffini received a bachelor’s degree in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, a master’s degree in national security and resource strategy from the National Defense University (The Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy), and a master’s degree in engineering management from The George Washington University.