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Fire Station Workgroup

A determined-looking firefighter walks away from a cluster of firetrucks, loaded with equipment and holding a pole and electronic device

Fire Station Workgroup

Mission

 

To serve as a liaison between the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), and Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), and to educate and inform the Michigan fire service on proper training protocols and coordinate the removal of Class B Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) containing PFAS.

This workgroup is led by LARA and includes staff from EGLE and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The original mission of this workgroup was to identify fire departments that use and store Class B AFFF, which is known to contain PFAS.  Early on, this workgroup identified several needs:

  1. Best practices for when foam should be used;
  2. A requirement that all fire fighters who use Class B AFFF report it to a central location; and
  3. Ongoing education about PFAS in AFFF

Contact

Kevin Sehlmeyer
State Fire Marshal

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)

Recent Accomplishments

  • House Bill 4389 became Public Act 132 of 2020 on July 8, 2020, requiring:
    • Immediately after the end of a fire or other incident at which an organized fire department uses firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS, the fire chief shall report the incident to the Michigan pollution emergency alert system.
    • EGLE to establish a collection program for firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS and establish guidelines for the program.
  • House Bill 4390 became Public Act 133 of 2020 on July 8, 2020, which prohibits and requires the fire marshal to develop training.  Towards this, in fiscal year 2021 EGLE and LARA began work on a firefighter training video focused on PFAS.
  • Members of the Fire Station Workgroup attended tests being done by Dow Chemical to find an alternative to class B AFFF.
  • In December 2021, EGLE launched a second AFFF pickup and disposal program.  

Next Steps

  • In early 2022 the Workgroup will complete the firefighter training video for viewing by all Michigan firefighters.
  • In 2022 the Workgroup will finalize best management practices for firefighters.
  • The Fire Station Workgroup will continue to provide guidance and information to the fire service on how to select a replacement fluorine-free Class B AFFF.

Research/Studies

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is currently testing Class B AFFF that are fluorine-free foams.  Dow Chemical is also working on alternatives to Class B AFFF. This Workgroup will stay apprised of that testing and other AFFF research.

Timeline of Accomplishments

  • Spring of 2019:  A statewide survey was conducted of 780 fire departments to determine the inventory of Class B AFFF and past use of AFFF.  As of June 10, 2020, approximately 77% of the fire departments responded to the survey and 45% of those that responded said they had AFFF.  The total reported was 38,713 gallons.
  • June 2019:  The workgroup began disseminating a poster ro every fire station in Michigan on the proper way to report the use of Class B AFFF and for reporting the use of Class B AFFF to the EGLE Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS), 1-800-292-4706.
  • December 2019:  AFFF pick-up and disposal program started.
  • Firefighting Foam page was developed. 
  • In 2019, the Fire Station Workgroup began reaching out to organizations outside the Michigan fire service--groups such as emergency management, law enforcement, and 911 dispatch associations--to determine options for fire departments to replace their 8-chain Class B AFFF.  Our goal is to help the fire service make a transition to a Class B AFFF that is both effective in suppressing class B fires and has no negative effect on the environment.
  • September 2020: AFFF pick-up program ended.  Over 51,000 gallons were collected for proper disposal.