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Water is dangerous on lithium battery fires

Kent Faith - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I am encouraged that large premier Commercial Airlines are putting out the effort to find a solution for Lithium battery fires in their cabins.

I was challenged the other day by a prospective customer, if I had any proof that water had a negative effect on a lithium battery fire, this was my simple two-point response.

1. BEA Report shows water is dangerous (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile, is the French authority responsible for safety investigations into accidents or incidents in civil aviation). – investigating a Li-Ion event onboard an Air France flight in 2010 suggest that “throwing water on a lithium battery fire can, however, revive the flames and make it more difficult to extinguish because of the reduction of lithium in water, which leads to the release of hydrogen, which is highly flammable• There is no consensus on the procedure to apply, specifically the use of water during the extinction of flames.

And there is not any uniform and internationally accepted solution on how to extinguish such fires

The report mentions the FAA’s Halon/water guidance, but points out that “no such recommendations have been sent out from EASA.”

2. AC -120-80A- the FAA published a new Advisory Circular in December 2014. This Circular provides guidance to operators on addressing, through procedures and training, the unique characteristics of lithium battery fires. There is new and additional wording adding “Aqueous based extinguishing agent(s)” as an approved method for extinguishing these fires. Firebane® used in the LIFE Kit™ is an Aqueous based extinguishing agent and the only one that has been rated for D fires in other applications.

We feel the FAA stopped short of total accuracy by still including water and defining the lithium battery fire event as a Class A fire. Further down in this same AC in Appendix 4 they define a lithium fire as a Type D fire thus confusing their own prior statements and testing.

SpectrumFX, Inc. exclusively utilizing Firebane® in its LIFE Kit™ is the only safe answer to airline cabin safety with regards to Lithium-ion battery fires.