View Poll Results: Would you recommend purchasing another CAFS Engine/Quint for your department.

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  • Yes

    17 60.71%
  • NO. If cost was not an issue I would say YES.

    3 10.71%
  • ABSOLUTELY NOT

    8 28.57%
  • Does not matter

    0 0%
  1. #1
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    Thumbs up CAFS... YES or NO

    Little pole. I am fixing to do a CAFS class for the department I work for. Need some help.

    This is for those who currently have a CAFS Engine/Quint.

    If money was not a factor, would you recommend in buying another CAFS Engine/Quint for your department.

    Why? Please explain!

    THANKS
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

  2. #2
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    Prior to seeing what it could do, I was a naysayer. We were spec'ing out a new pumper, and were comsidering CAFS.

    I was all for an around-the-pump proportioner with class A foam, due to our proximity to several airports, both military and civilian, as well as a civilian in our local having his own helicopter.

    I could not see spending the kind of money they wanted for CAFS. Others in the committee felt as I did. So I started educating myself (rather than doing the typical "well THATS always worked for us....blah blah...)

    I attended several live burns, both as an observer and as a participant. All I could say at the time was WOW.

    I would never order another pumper without it again.

    Any anyone who votes no against CAFS is probably victim to the following:

    -Is not educated on it's capabilities
    -Has never seen it work at all, or work properly
    -Has never used it
    -Has never used it properly, uses it improperly.

    So many people I know that have seen it used, are against it due to the fact that it was applied improperly, or was "washed away" by a second line that was straight water.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 09-23-2008 at 12:53 PM.
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  3. #3
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    firedog1979 why did you vote "NO". I am trying to get all perspectives.

    Thanks
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

  4. #4
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    I say if cost is not a factor b/c the costs I have in mind
    1.) inital purchase
    2.) training costs (live burns, class room OT)
    3.) maintanence costs (depts around me have had major issues, one has abondoned it completely and gone back to straight water)

    Otherwise the only beef I have is in roll over conditions down a hallway, does it only coat the walls or does it have the effect to lessen the roll-over the way water would? From what I've seen and heard that is the major weak point.

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    Our dept (Vollie) uses it and has it on two main engines and a portable unit on the heavy rescue. (tanker, reserve engine and brush truck is water only)

    Advantages I've seen - longer reach with the hose stream, lots of knockdown power and the hose lines are quite a bit lighter which makes them more manuevable.

    Disadvantages - I am still waiting for the question I asked at Flashover training with what to do if you have a cafs line. The nozzle reaction is greater as well. Then of course, cost.

    Still, as the name implies - I am new and haven't been around forever so take what I said with a grain of salt.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFNG View Post
    Our dept (Vollie) uses it and has it on two main engines and a portable unit on the heavy rescue. (tanker, reserve engine and brush truck is water only)

    Advantages I've seen - longer reach with the hose stream, lots of knockdown power and the hose lines are quite a bit lighter which makes them more manuevable.

    Disadvantages - I am still waiting for the question I asked at Flashover training with what to do if you have a cafs line. The nozzle reaction is greater as well. Then of course, cost.

    Still, as the name implies - I am new and haven't been around forever so take what I said with a grain of salt.

    Can you please qualify that statement? Taking what you said with a grain if salt, however I believe that statement to be inaccurate, unless if the line was being used improperly (-too much pressure.....)
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by vindicator View Post
    firedog1979 why did you vote "NO". I am trying to get all perspectives.

    Thanks
    I recently came back on the line from a staff assignment where purchasing apparatus was part of my job. While I have read some about CAFS, like one poster said - I have never used it, never seen it used in a structural enviroment. While I have no doubt it works swell...there are other factors to consider:

    1) Apparatus costs are going up. Adding $20,000 for something that adds complexity, increases training requirements, breaks down and requires our shop personnel to maintain yet one more thing - keeping the apparatus in the shop even longer - did not appeal to us.

    2) Working in a city department, we have hydrants every 300' or so. We have been using water injected with an extinguishing agent for years, with good result. That process is not presenting us with a problem we need to throw all of the stuff in (1) at. We also have standpipes, high rises, etc. to contend with.

    3) I can fully understand the need in a non-hyrdanted, wildland area where water conservation and coating of structures is critical. Makes less sense to me in an urban enviroment.

    4) Training is also an issue. Having one or two apparatus with this on board creates problems for OT or detail Engineers who do not normaly drive the apparatus.

    A neighboring agency purchased an engine with this stuff and responded on a brush fire one day. The proceeded to coat the entire area with a 2" coating of foam the consistensy of shaving cream that did not soak into the fire. ("Thanks guys, you can pick up now, we got it"). I would much rather just have a .5% solution.

    Hope I do not sound like a curmedgeon, we just like low tech and simple methods that work consistently.

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    Thanks firedog1979. Nothing wrong with simple and low tech. Do you have or seen anything with the suppression/tactic aspect that makes you against it.

    I want to leave the cost out of this topic, as I am only looking at this subject from a training standpoint.
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

  9. #9
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    Capt96, why did you vote "NO". Please explain!
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

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    My dept. doesn't use it but I have some friends in another dept. that started using it within the last year and they really like it in terms of performance.

    It's like any other tool on the truck, if it is used properly in the right situation it's probably worth it. If I was asked to evaluate it I would take a close look at the maintenance issue. Not only the monetary cost of maintenance or repair but also the cost of having a frontline apparatus OOS. Also the cost of concentrate for use during training and replacement after an incident.

    You may have seen it already but there is a website (www.CAFSINFO.com) that gives a lot of information.

    Good luck on your project.

  11. #11
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    Strictly from a performance standpoint, I'd never get a rig without it. Like FWD, I have witnessed demo's, and also participated in them. During our scenarios, we found that the CAF allows for a quicker knockdown with far less water. While the water alone brought the temperature down more quickly, it "plateaued" at about 300 degrees before slowly lowering, while the CAF did not produce this same effect.

    I seen people at various times people comment about increased nozzle reaction with the CAF, but I have yet to witness this, using both a standard smooth-bore nozzle or the TFT CAFS-fog nozzle. I wonder if the right amount of flow was occurring during these times?

    A neighboring department has 6 CAFS engines in service currently, and has an unusual interface engine/rescue on order with it. I was just talking with the chairman of their spec committee a couple of days ago, and he made it clear that there would never be another suppression piece ordered in their county without CAFS on it. (Rural/Suburban district)

    Hope this helps...
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    Quote Originally Posted by vindicator View Post
    Thanks firedog1979. Nothing wrong with simple and low tech. Do you have or seen anything with the suppression/tactic aspect that makes you against it.

    I want to leave the cost out of this topic, as I am only looking at this subject from a training standpoint.
    No, but again I have had little exposure to it. Competent, smart people from all over seem to think highly of it, and I would not begin to question that. My thing is that regardless of the agent, you still need a skilled engine company(s) supported by a skilled ladder company(s) moving the line in to apply it in a structural enviroment.

    The training standpoint is also somewhat troubling as we are currently buried in this area. It seems we spend less and less time training on fire attack, and more and more time spent on everything else. I am sure this is a problem for everybody, but it must be factored in when writing apparatus specs.

    The other factor I worry somewhat about is the manufactures "overselling" a technology to solve problems that may or may not exist in every agency. During my time in logistics, I had to fight these guys off with sticks. I would have laughed at all the stuff these guys said we just "had to have" to "safely" do our jobs if it were not so sad. The average firefighter would have to be a cross between Einstien and Schwarzenagger to both understand and carry all of the "must haves" these people would foust upon us. Apparatus manufactures support this as it only adds to the cost/profit they earn on every apparatus purchase.

    Great thread and enjoy reading everybodys comments on this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Can you please qualify that statement? Taking what you said with a grain if salt, however I believe that statement to be inaccurate, unless if the line was being used improperly (-too much pressure.....)
    The problem is that CAFS adds an additional X amount of pressure to the line according to what we have been told.

    Our system adds 25 PSI of nozzle reaction to the line due to the pressure from the compressed air. So if your pump is pumping a pressure of 100 PSI of water at the nozzle, then with CAFS you will get 125 PSI at the nozzle.

    Not really a problem in my book though, our SOG states that we pump at 125 PSI. So if CAFS is off we pump at 125, if CAFS is on we pump at 100 PSI + 25 PSI CAFS.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  14. #14
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    Thanks,

    Please if you say NO, please explain why.
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

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    I don't have any experience with a CAFS system on structure fires, but I was told that a CAFS line does not have enough heat absorption for an interior attack.

    Any truth to that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ze66298 View Post
    I don't have any experience with a CAFS system on structure fires, but I was told that a CAFS line does not have enough heat absorption for an interior attack.

    Any truth to that?
    Well yes and no.

    Yes; You always have the take the amount of water needed with you no matter if you use CAFS, Class "A", or just water. In fact it has better heat absorption than water. Have to use the NFPA or Iowa formula no matter what.

    No; The system we use is a 200cfm system. at a 2:1 ratio, as recommended for interior operations, you can only get 400 gpms out of the system. As stated above you have to take the water needed with you!

    This help you any?
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

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    I wish there were a few more choices in your poll. I reluctantly voted "absolutley not" for similar reasons that Firedog1979 posted. I would consider it on an engine, but not on a quint. I fully understand staffing and budget realities, but to me, a quint is trying to be both an aircraft carrier and a submarine and sometimes comes up short. CAF is one more thing I wouldn't want to add to that mix. Just my opinion.

    Having said all that... we have five type 3 heavy brush rigs that have CAFS. We currently run them more as rescues (two person company) and they don't see a lot of fire so the CAF system is rarely used.

    I've spent a fair amount of time studying CAFS, the particular system we bought, and what other systems are out there. Because of that, I've identified some short commings with our CAF rigs.

    1) They need the auto tank fill option.

    2) They need GPM flow meters on all CAF discharges. They air flow meters (scfm) which is great, but without a gpm flow meter there is nothing to compare that to so we are never quite sure what air/water ratio we are producing. Wet CAF, med CAF, dry CAF, or what? Shaving cream is pretty obvious though .

    3) We did some additional training and felt that 1 1/8" tip worked good for us. We already use break down nozzles so we just added a 1 1/8" slug tip between the bail and the fog tip. When CAF is needed, the fog tip spins off and the smooth bore is ready to go.

    For deparments considering CAF, just make sure you understand the concepts behind it before you buy it. Its a little different than just plain water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Can you please qualify that statement? Taking what you said with a grain if salt, however I believe that statement to be inaccurate, unless if the line was being used improperly (-too much pressure.....)
    As I said I am new and it was mentioned during my training. CAFS will produce more nozzle reaction that water. I am sure there are lot of things to do to mitigate it and perhaps they meant if operated equally. I really only have expeirence with the CAFS line so I can't personally make the comparison.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for those who participated.

    I wish those who voted "Absolutely Not" and did not comment would have posted why. Makes me believe they really donít know why.

    Thanks.
    This is My Opinion and not of anyone elses!!

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