H2K Consultancy advises and supports organisations developing an Emergency Response Organisation based on their risk profile. The first step is to perform a thorough risk assessment based on the company’s activities, standard operating procedures and presence of machinery and hazardous goods. Our specialists then analyse what preventative measures are needed to optimally manage risks and what type of response organisation is appropriate to adequately handle incidents. Using a hands-on action and implementation plan, the improvement process is carried out step by step.

Practical research into the throwing range of foam at Kijfhoek

ProRail practical foam test

One of the largest railyards in the Netherlands is Kijfhoek near Zwijndrecht, with up to 43 tracks at its widest. Railway manager ProRail wanted to know whether an effective foam deployment was possible on every location on their site. H2K, together with ProRail, Arcadis and the South-Holland South Safety Authority, conducted some practical research to find out the answers to this question.

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ProRail wanted conclusive answers to the question of whether the extinguishing monitors of the on-site foam vehicle and the regional foam vehicles have enough of a throwing range to reach a tank wagon or pool fire on all tracks. A second question was which effects obstacles between the extinguishing vehicle and the source of the fire, like other stationed wagons, would have on the throwing range and spread of the foam blanket, and how foam behaves on the gravel bed underneath the tracks. There were no documented practical experiences upon which to make any validated claims. H2K has a wealth of knowledge and skills in the field of firefighting foam and the deployment of foam extinguishing vehicles to large industrial fires. That expertise makes H2K just the right partner for ProRail to conduct a realistic and reliable practical test.

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H2K worked out the research question of ProRail into a plan of action and a testing protocol, for a foam deployment during a fire scenario under variable circumstances with and without obstacles. Thanks to the international partner network of H2K, the realistic practical test could be conducted at the firefighting training centre in Vernon, France. According to the protocol, a pool fire of 150 square metres was created, unto which the foam vehicle was deployed under varying circumstances and from varying distances. H2K was in charge of the execution of the extinguishing tests. All tests were repeated multiple times to be able to make reliable claims with regards to the research question. H2K drafted a report based on the findings, with the conclusion being that the reach of the extinguishing vehicles is large enough to reach all railway tracks from the available infrastructure. Even if the heart of the fire is blocked in some capacity, the right use of extinguishing monitors can apply enough foam and water to provide effective extinguishing and cooling capabilities for wagons near the fire’s source. The conclusions of the foam tests are not just important for Kijfhoek, but can prove useful for other railyards as well.

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