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Water, Foam, and Dry Chem – Know your Firefighting Agents!

There are several types of fires, and also several ways to put them out. The three main fire suppressants used are water, foam, and dry chemicals, and knowing their qualities can help you optimize your firefighting abilities.



Water has been the most popular fire suppressant throughout history, and can be useful in fighting class A fires (fires made up of common combustible solids). Water is ineffective at suppressing oil and electrical fires (Class B and C fires), and can actually be dangerous if used on either. Water is also used to be mixed with firefighting foam and those class A fires are very common, so water will likely continue to be a large part of fire suppression in the future.

Firefighting Foam

Firefighting foam was invented in the early 1900’s, and has evolved into various forms for different types of fires. Type A foam was originally made for use against forest fires and is used similarly to water. Type B foam is meant for liquid spills, and ARFF foam falls under this category. ARFF foam has a low viscosity, and is able to cover large amounts of spilled jet fuel in a short time period. Foam allows you to coat the materials that are burning, and then cut off the oxygen to help suppress the fire.

Dry Chemicals

There are also various types of dry chemicals that are made for different purposes. Some of the most popular are ABC chemical, Purple-K, and BC chemical. The ABC chemical is the most versatile, and can be used to suppress all types of fires. Purple-K is useful when fighting liquid fires.


Dry chemicals are frequently used in industrial settings, where chemical and electrical fires are at a high risk. Dry chemicals are only used when needed due to the fine particulates that spread easily over a large area and create a cleanup nightmare.

Knowing which agent to use when fighting fires is important for everyone, not just firefighters. Making the wrong selection could cause serious problems, so it’s important to do your research first. Careful research and training will allow you to fight fires in the most effective manner possible.


About Oshkosh Airport Products, LLC

Oshkosh Airport Products, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, is a designer and builder of industry-leading airport firefighting vehicles. Its flagship Striker® Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles are known for their durability and superior performance and sold throughout the world. For more information, visit

About Oshkosh Corporation

At Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK), we make innovative, mission-critical equipment to help everyday heroes advance communities around the world. Headquartered in Wisconsin, Oshkosh Corporation employs more than 14,000 team members worldwide, all united behind a common cause: to make a difference in people’s lives. Oshkosh products can be found in more than 150 countries under the brands of JLG®, Pierce®, Oshkosh® Defense, McNeilus®, IMT®, Jerr-Dan®, Frontline™, Oshkosh® Airport Products, London™ and Pratt Miller. For more information, visit

®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies.

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition; the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic; actions that may be taken by governmental authorities and others to address or otherwise mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economies and the Company’s customers, suppliers and employees; and the cyclical nature of the Company’s Access Equipment, Commercial and Fire & Emergency markets, which are particularly impacted by the strength of U.S. and European economies and construction seasons.