Basic Foam Operations - Part 3

Firefighters preparing to engage in a basic foam operation must have a working knowledge of the basics. There is some vocabulary that if used incorrectly, can lead to confusion. Foam concentrate typically comes in 5-gallon pails, or for more major...

  • What kind of concentrate does the department use (AFFF, AR-AFFF, FFFP)?
  • What do the instructions say? Does it mention a shelf life? Does it say if it can be used with saltwater?
  • Is your foam compatible with dry chemical extinguishing agents?
  • What ratio is the concentrate to be mixed with water (1%, 3%, 6%)?
  • Is it for Class B fires??? Very important to know!!!
  • What are the limitations identified on the label?
  • Based on the label, what are the advantages that the foam concentrate offers?

ARMAND F. GUZZI JR. has been a member of the fire service since 1987.  He is a career fire lieutenant with the City of Long Branch, NJ, Fire Department and is the deputy director of the Monmouth County, NJ, Fire Academy where he has taught for over 20 years.  He has a masters degree in management and undergraduate degrees in fire science, education, and business administration. View all of Armand's articles here. He can be reached via e-mail at or