New Fire Protection for Hangars Adopted in NFPA 409 2022 Edition

Oct. 6, 2021
Safespill says for the first time in more than 30 years, military and airport operators now have a new, environmentally friendly option for hangars at risk of liquid fuel fires.

Safespill, a leader in environmentally safe fire protection systems, announced that the company's core technology — the Safespill flooring system, also known as an ignitable liquid drainage floor assembly — will be added to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 409, the industry's Standard on Aircraft Hangars, 2022 Edition as an equivalent to traditional foam-based systems in hangars.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Safespill says military and airport operators now have a new, environmentally friendly option for hangars at risk of liquid fuel fires. Until now, the industry has relied on two fire suppression systems — aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) and high expansion foam (HEF).

AFFF, while providing effective fire suppression, contains PFAS chemicals proven to be dangerous to the environment and human health, and a source of drinking water contamination at military bases and in communities nationwide. Additionally, HEF poses significant risks, damaging aircraft and creating unsafe situations for personnel during accidental discharges, which engulf hangars with large quantities of foam.

The NFPA 409 Technical Committee voted in July 2021 to add Ignitable Liquid Drainage Floor Assemblies (ILDFAs) to the standard following years of fire tests, including performance demonstrations at Safespill's test facility in Houston, Texas.

In the ILDFA's basics, it is a hollow aluminum extruded floor with a perforated top surface and underlying channels, connected to a trench system to remove any spilled liquid to an acceptable location (i.e., oil/water separator, containment system, or as directed by the local authority). If a spill is ignited, the ILDFA will rapidly control and extinguish the flammable or combustible liquid fire.

"It's our mission to transition the world to environmentally safe fire protection," notes Safespill founder and CEO Tristan Mackintosh. "We have been on a journey to introduce our new approach to aircraft hangar fire protection to the NFPA 409 committee and the public as well. Now that Safespill's system will be included as an option in the NFPA standard, airport and hangar operators now have an environmentally safe alternative to the chemical-based systems they have been required to use for the past 60 years."

In a recent article by John Frank, leader of AXA XL Insurance's Loss Prevention Center of Excellence and a member of the NFPA 409 Technical Committee, he describes the new ILDFA system. Compared to foam-based fire suppression systems, Frank notes, "The ILDFA technology eliminates all concerns about engulfment while delivering equal or better fire suppression performance. This is a multi-win technology that meets the needs of hangar operators, aircraft owners, insurers of all types, and local authorities."

Frank adds, "If you are considering building a new hangar — and the NFPA agrees to adopt this new technology [now adopted] — the ILDFA should be your first consideration. It solves everyone's concerns."