Foam Fire Suppression

Foam FireSuppression Systems

Foam fire suppression systems are typically used in larger, open spaces and work through a combination of factors to suppress fires before they can spread. There are various types of foam agent compounds, all work by using a wetting agent or surfactant to create a blanket of bubbles that can separate the fuel and oxygen, as well as cool the source of heat. Foam systems can be integrated into fixed sprinkler systems, fixed spray nozzles, fire hose streams, or introduced into a space by special foam-making equipment designed just for the purpose of making large quantities of foam. Ahern offers low, medium, and high expansion foams as well as CAF (Compressed Air Foam). With over 30 years’ experience in fire suppression, we can identify, design, and install the right fire suppression system for your application.

Design &Service

Ahern has the technical knowledge and experience to design a comprehensive foam fire suppression system specific to your needs. There’s a lot to consider when evaluating a foam agent such as environmental impact, facility size, foam shelf life, and required cleanup. We design and install foam systems with these concerns and NFPA Standard 11 in mind to create an effective, code compliant foam suppression system.

If you’re looking for an expert in foam fire suppression, give us a call or send us a message today.


We employ over 43 special hazards fire protection professionals who average 20 years of industry experience.

Having Ahern on our team has been a positive and rewarding experience. From the design and coordination to the installation and closeout, Ahern has performed as a first class company.
Berghammer Construction


When to use foam fire suppression

When to Use a Foam Fire Suppression System

Foam is a valuable fire-extinguishing medium for incidents involving flammable liquids. Aqueous foam works to control liquid based fires through separating oxygen from the fire, cooling the area, suppressing vapor, smothering the product, and safeguarding against reignition. Foam fire suppression is the ideal protector of areas where flammable liquids are transported, stored, or processed. Traditionally, foam has found a home in the following applications:

  • Airports/Aircraft Hangars
  • Refineries
  • Chemical Plants
  • Manufacturing Plants
  • Storage Tanks
  • Docks
  • Power Plants
  • Pipeline Pump Stations
  • Warehouses

    Foam Expansion Rates

    Foam agents excel in different areas depending on the rate of expansion. High expansion foams, for example, are better suited towards larger areas to cover ground more quickly. Ahern offers a variety of foam agents with varying expansion rates.

    • Low Expansion Foam - Foam aerated to a bubble expansion ratio between 2 to 1 and 20 to 1. Bubbles contain higher water content at this level of expansion.
    • Medium Expansion Foam - Expansion ratio between 20 to 1 and 200 to 1.
    • High Expansion Foam - Expansion ratio above 200 to 1. At these expansion ratios, the bubble water content is lower, ideal for filling larger spaces such as warehouse floors or hangers and especially useful in extinguishing liquefied natural gas.
    • CAF - Compressed Air Foam is a relatively new foam technology in comparison to Low/Medium and High Expansion, in the fixed fire protection systems industry. The unique structure of the foam generated with these systems can provide a three dimensional component to its fire suppression capabilities. Its ability to cling to vertical surfaces provides an advantage in challenging fire hazards.
    Fire Extinguisher

    Changes on the Horizon with Foam Fire Suppression Systems

    Chemicals contained within certain Foam Concentrates are falling under scrutiny for potential long term health and environmental impact. 

    As a result of this scrutiny, the industry is responding with new foam technology to address these concerns.  Ahern can assist you with understand the new technology and testing methods which address the changes occurring with in the foam fire suppression industry.


    Ahern employs over 110 NICET certified professionals; nearly half hold the uppermost Levels 3 or 4 certification.

    I have worked with Ahern on several projects in recent years as well, and continue to appreciate our working relationship.
    Pat Dhein Project Manager C. G. Schmidt Inc.