Firefighters reduce chemical foam products with alternatives (includes video story)

Dave Garlie, managing partner at Cross Plains Solutions, wants to use his skills in chemistry to help his community and others across the country. Garlie was presented with a problem by the New York Fire Department: they needed a training foam that was not only environmentally sustainable but also safe for firefighters to use. 

PFAS, a group of synthetic chemicals, is one of the prime components of the current firefighting foam. But firemen like Chris Turner, leading technician at CVTC Fire Safety Center, have asked for a foam that is safe for the firemen to dump into the environment.

That is when Garlie stepped in. He came across soybeans, a plant that not many people would think of turning into a fire fighting foam.

With the help of Turner, Cross Plains created SoyFoam, which contains ingredients of soy meal and soy flour, and is officially biodegradable. The SoyFoam can extinguish a 28-square-foot fire within 30 seconds, trials have shown. 

Garlie goes on to say, “I’m not a fireman, so I can’t put out the fire, but maybe I can do my small part to provide the chemistry that gives our firemen a better environment to work in, a safer environment to work in.”

Emma Alonso is a senior majoring in Digital Broadcast Media. She is passionate about photography and videography. After graduation she hopes to work in the photojournalism field, more specifically on the sidelines of an NFL or NBA team capturing stories through her camera.