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  1. #1
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    Default Class A&B Foam Syatem or just Class A

    we are getting ready to spec out a new pumper and would like some input from people who really use foam pro systems. Is it worth the extra money to spend to get the dual tank (Class A&B) foam setup. Whats kind of trouble will we run into?

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    We just went through this with our truck commitee. The thing we asked ourselves is will we have the need of both class a and b on a regular basis. We deciede not to go with both. We don't use foam a whole lot. Of course your response area and the type of fires you run on will also play a part in which is best for your department. I'm sure some of the guys on here will be able to tell you more. One of the other things that we talked about is someone putting the wrong foam in the wrong tank. One of our engines has a foam-pro on it and we like it. It is a pretty good system to use (I think). good luck.

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    We've spec'd our last 11 rigs with Class A foam tanks only. We don't use B-Foam enough, so it sits and gels. But, we also spec'd the rigs to have an eductor (sp) to be able to flow it from the 5 gal jugs, in case it is needed.

    A foam is pretty stable if not used. However, when it comes to the B foam, we noticed that it gels in the tank, as well as the lines. Then there's the problem with some not being able to tell the difference between the letter "A" and "B".

    FM1
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    We just went with A on our new Spartan/Toyne Rescue Engine. Our current engines have 30a and 30b and the b rarely gets used. I was originally in favor of going with an A/B system again but was convinced otherwise by very knowledgeable members of this forum.

    We did however spec a large 50 gallon (yes) class A tank for our new engine. A couple guys came up with the idea thinking that since the truck will be in service 20-25 years, there may be an alternative concentrate in 5-10-15 years that will combat A and B fires and do it very well. While it is true there are A/B foams out there now, they are a compromise, and they dont do polar solvents either.

    Only time will tell if we had some good forward thinking or not. One thing is we should never run out of class A foam on scene! We also went with the Hale Foam Logix over the Foam Pro that we currently have.

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    My career FD has a rig with a Foam Pro A&B, and one with a Pierce Husky A&B system. My volly FD has a rig with a Hale Foam Logix Class A system.

    I was a big proponent of NOT putting Class B foam on the second rig at my career FD (Out voted on that one), and of only having Class A on my volly FD's engine (Managed to convince them of that one).

    As others have stated Class B foam, AFFF and AFFF/AR, goes bad after the container is opened. I have seen it occur in as little as 6 months. It is a real bastard to have to empty the tank of that jelled foam and then clean all of the piping to the foam pump.

    My feeling is that unless you regularly use Class B foam, lots of car fires, or flammable liquids fires, you are far better off to have a system with a pickup tube to your onboard foam pump and Class B foam kept in CLOSED 5 gallon pails. This prevents air from contacting the foam and prolongs its life. It may not be as sexy as a complete on board system but I believe for most FD's it is far more practical and economical.

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    Hi All,

    abod02, I would not recommend an A/B or Dual tank system. Basically it is recipe for disaster. A foam and B do like each other. The second they come in contact with each other it starts a chemical reaction that goes to "Snot", then "Jelly", then "Hard". Sometimes it take weeks and sometimes hours, BUT IT WILL HAPPEN.

    Most Foam Proportioners can't pump enough "B" concentrate for a "B" type incident. You may say "then I'll get a BIGGER foam pump". That will then work great for "B" foam but not so good for the much, much lower flow rates associated with A foam operations. Unless you a fighting "B" type fires most of the time, I would stick with a single tank system of "A" foam only.

    My suggestions would be:
    A single tank system, 30 gallon tank is a good size. "A" foam only
    Stick with a foam pump with a rated gpm between 3 and 6.
    Get the "Auto-On" feature for the proportioner. Some manufacturers charge more for it, some have it standard. (do your homework)
    Get 500 gpm foam manifold.
    Get the re-fill system for filling the foam tank.

    Bottom line is dual tanks systems are expensive. And as others of said for the few times you "may" need B foam, use an inductor and matching nozzle.

    I have a question for FyredUp, How is a car fire a B type fire? B foams are a smothering/blanketing foam designed for liquid type fire. (Hydro-Carbons and Polar Solvents) How is a car fir a liquid fire? Yes I know it carries liquid fuel, but nine times out of ten the liquid is not burning. And if it is burning the quantity is so small that plain water puts it out.

    Not trying to start an argument, just trying to understand the car fire attack with "B" foam.

    Hope this helps.

    Captain Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    Just for a point of information, I read once that you should put a thin layer of mineral oil on top of your class B foam in the tank. Serves as a vapor barrier to keep the air out and stop the foam from going bad and was not supposed to hurt the foam pump if you drained the tank at an incident. Anyone else ever hear of this?
    As for Class B tanks, I'm sold on class A CAFS, keep the B in the 5 gallon pails.

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    the problem with class b is that you have to use it is such high concentrations that putting 30 gallon tank on your truck gives you the ability to treat only 500 to 1000 gallons of water, which isn't really enough do do any thing with. (look at airport crash trucks they carry like 500gallons of just the concentrate) plus like others have said how often are you going to use it vs. the cost of replacing it every time it goes bad and the time you have to spend flushing you lines. to me Class B just isnt worth having unless you cover a airport or major industrial park or something like that.
    ~Big O~

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    we went with only Class A as well...........
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Thank You gentlemen for some great discussion points.

    We too are in the process of speccing an engine with foam. We are pretty decided on a 30gal class A tank, with the tank fill option that will allow for use of Class B from cans.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    don't get class B systems because you won't need it that often, but why bother getting the class A? Regular water puts out those fires just fine.

    30 gallon tank can create 3000 gallons of mix for a hydrocarbon fire and 1000 gallons of mix for a polar solvent. Looks like a good start to me.

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    We had changed our thinking when we purchased our last piece (Rescue/Engine). In the past all engines had a B system and to date we'd not used them in anger, and more often than not we had issues with the systems as foam went "bad". We looked around the county and found that many FD's had on board B systems but rarely enough to do anything but get started, and then would need to call for help for more foam. This is no way to run a B Foam op. You need to ensure once you have product flowing you won't run out until you done. We opted to look at a regional foam trailer, much like the State of CT did. This would allow most FD's to skip the undersized, often underutilized and certainly often misunderstood B Foam systems.

    Our newest (Spartan/Toyne) has a Foampro A system. We've yet to truly realize the value of the foam, but it is likely our fault, not the actual media. Turns out you need a few things: 1) fires 2) to use the foam at said fires 3) a manner to determine if the fire was easier to extinguish than expected? We'll see, we have two engines with A foam systems and have used it now and again with little revelations.

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    Using lower % B foam makes the foam last longer (treat more water). 1/3 versus 3/6 might cost a bit more but it makes the 30 gallon foam cell last longer.

    We chose a single tanks system with 1/3 B AR-AFFF foam due to the introduction of alcohol blend fuels in vehicles. Water seems to work well for other fires.

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    How bout neither?

    Is the money for either system really worth it? Water has been working for an aweful long time.
    RK
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    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Fair question.

    Cost of system $10k. Gives us foam out of 3 - 1 3/4" lines and 1 - 2 1/2" line. Have used it many times during extended overhauls. Have used it on vehicle fires. Used often at commercial fishing boat fires.

    For us, the uses justify the cost.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    How bout neither?

    Is the money for either system really worth it? Water has been working for an aweful long time.
    We'll certainly have to see some more measurable results before we'd spec it again. But alas, those that use it regularly swear it increases the ability of the water to extinguish fire, thereby stretching tank water further, and in our case that would be a big plus.

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    From Chemguard via email today.

    Applying a layer of mineral oil to the top of the class B foam in the foam tank will prevent evaporation of the water from the foam to prevent gelling in the tank. Also recommended to maintain foam full into the base of the fill tower so that only a small area of foam is exposed to air.

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    Get A foam with CAFS and you will be happy with the results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    How bout neither?

    Is the money for either system really worth it? Water has been working for an aweful long time.
    Still using buckets to apply it?

    Cl A big improvement over POW. CAFS huge improvement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Still using buckets to apply it?

    Cl A big improvement over POW. CAFS huge improvement.
    buckets vs. 1250 gpm pumpis not the same as water vs. class a foam or cafs, but good hyperbole.


    unless you have a water supply issue, is the improvement in extinguishing ability worth the cost? Water works great for us, all you need to do is apply it correctly and you don't need chemical aids.

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    I agree on the CAFS comments. What a huge advantage over interior FF with just class A or water alone.

    As far as B goes, I had a veteran of foam firefighting tell me once that if you NEED class B foam to fight a fire, you won't have enough.

    Good luck with your new truck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    buckets vs. 1250 gpm pumpis not the same as water vs. class a foam or cafs, but good hyperbole.


    unless you have a water supply issue, is the improvement in extinguishing ability worth the cost? Water works great for us, all you need to do is apply it correctly and you don't need chemical aids.
    Exactly the point I was making.

    I have seen the studies (that have been conducted by the people that will make the money off of the systems) that claim that on board foam proportioners or CAFS will extinguish the fire "faster" or with less water.

    My point is that is it worth the expense? Is there truely enough of a NOTICEABLE difference to justify the expense? Will you use it enough times that it actually makes a difference and justify the expense?

    CAFS systems I have seen run in excess of $20,000 and people are buying them like hot cakes. My opinion is that in many instances the money could be better spent on other options.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hilgerone View Post
    I agree on the CAFS comments. What a huge advantage over interior FF with just class A or water alone.
    What are the huge advantages?
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    $20k CAFS systems means you have already spent much more on the ancillory equipment. I have not seen any (worthwhile ones) that cheap.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    In Memphis you have not only an unlimited, hydranted water supply you have "big city" staffing. Memphis is a nice place btw.

    And for Memphis FD, plain water might be what is best. A large amount of fires in low value property along with a very aggressive department coupled with a rich tradition tells me the "water works" mentality is not a surprise. I see the same thing in St. Louis. I dont think CAFS or class A will ever be embraced (yes I know they have a 5gal manual A tank on their Quints) due to their tactics, staffing, budget issues, and water supply.

    However, at this point in time it is absolutely narrow minded to say that CAFS and Class A foam is not more effective than water.

    I will agree that it is reasonable to dispute the cost effectiveness of CAFS and Class A based on an individual departments characteristics and needs.

    I do think that a big advantage CAFS could have in the urban arena is exposure protection. A dry blanket applied on adjacent exposures can be effective and free up manpower for other tasks.

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