We aren’t really familiar with all of the latest advancements in technology (no personal experience – yet) when it comes to these facilities, but we do know that formaldehyde and formaldehyde solutions are often used or present.
Because it is a water soluble (water miscible) Class B hazard water spray is listed in NFPA 49 as one of the agents that may be used. Any water soluble, flammable fuel can be extinguished by diluting with water to the point where combustion cannot occur (similar to alcohol when mixed with water).
The soft discharge pattern will reduce clean up and contamination. It will also prevent total disruption of an experiment in a Biology lab by reducing splash.
In this particular case you have both water mist and foam as viable alternatives. If foam is used, it must be of an “alcohol resistant” type – the Amerex Model 252 or 254 foam extinguishers – and the discharge should be made indirectly to the fuel surface. This is accomplished by “bouncing” the stream in front of the liquid or deflecting it off of a vertical surface and letting it flow on to the liquid.
We’re sure you can think of other applications – drop us a line and let us know