News Articles


Cutting-Edge Tri-Max Saves Lives, Stops Fires

July 2011

What started out as an idea, developed into a plan, and nearly 20 years later Tri-Max is saving lives just as it was intended.

Tri-Max is a cutting-edge, firefighting technology. The completely portable fire suppression system produces compressed air foam. Unlike foam that is used for general firefighting, Tri-Max uses compressed air to enable the foam to travel greater distances, allowing the firefighters greater standoff range and keeping them safer. Ranging in sizes from one gallon to 800 gallons, Tri-Max makes twice as much foam compared to normal firefighting foam, producing eight gallons of foam from every one gallon of liquid instead of the typical four gallons — and helps keep firefighters one step ahead of the flames.

Having completed test and evaluation with the Army, Tri-Max is deployed on the ground with war fighters and used in maintenance and aircraft hangars all over the world. Earlier this year at Iraq's Camp Taji Army soldiers found themselves battling a blaze about 15 feet away from fuel pumps just as helicopters were landing to refuel. The soldiers quickly and efficiently employed two of the several Tri-Max systems positioned around the helicopter pads and extinguished the fire without incident.

No special hoses or nozzles are required and the Marine Corps often retrofit their Humvees to carry Tri-Max systems so they are able to respond to a fire in the field. Some Tri-Max models are even equipped with infrared camerasto detect fires and the automatic sweeper nozzle discharges to protect unoccupied areas.

ARA's Engineering Science Division's Fire Research Group provided the development, testing and qualification of the Tri-Max fire extinguishing system primarily out of the Air Force Research Laboratory on Tyndall Air Force Base and collaborated with ARA's Southwest Division on the technical applications.

Tri-Max is representative of a long line of ARA firefighting research and development, from research by world-class engineers into firefighting task analysis and decision-making to remote firefighting systems such as the All-purpose Remote Transport System (ARTS) and advanced training like the Aircraft Fire Protection and Mishap Investigation Course. ARA continues to excel in technology transfer by developing new innovations in the area of ultra high-pressure firefighting.

For more information on this and other firefighting capabilities, contact Doug Dierdorf at