Thread: CAFS cons

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    Default CAFS cons

    Hi all. This is my first post and don't know if I'm posting this question in the right category.
    If not, let me know where.
    I'm in a rural fire dept where water supply is a problem since hydrands are mostly non-existent. We are thinking about purchasing a skid mounted CAF system. Does anyone out there have one of these units? I know full well the pros of CAFS but what are the cons that sales people won't tell you about Training, maintenance, operation, complexity, etc?
    Love to hear from you.

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    You'll use quite a bit of Cl A foam as you getting trained up on on the system. And then to maintain. Has a training cost you need to budget for unlike just spraying "free" water around.

    At $60/pail it adds up but don't shortcut it.

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    Yes we have a CET kubota diesel powered CAFS skid unit. It has a 300 gal h20 tank 15 gal foam tank, 250 gpm pump & 75 cfm rotary screw compressor. It's mounted on a 2008 F550 with aluminum flatbed and side boxes.
    It has a 1 1/2 preconnect crosslay and a 100 ft 1 in hose reel + 2 other discharges.
    Simple to operate and easy to adjust foam /air/water mixture ratio.

    The only cons about the system is the Venturi primer, it's a little slow to get a prime.
    Other than that it's a great easy to learn and use system.

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    Arent their some issues with CAFS when hooking up to a pressurized water source and the system not working right?

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    the only time I took our 1000/1000 CAFS engine off Islands to the big city, to help them with a training burn of a big farm complex, there was a minor issue as they had 85 psi residual coming off their hydrants. Had to restrict the intake a little so I could spin the RPMs up above 900 rpm in order to keep the 200 cfm compressors up to speed.

    The neighbors have since bought 2 CAFS engines, So I'm guessing it's not a problem.
    If you have an auto tank fill valve installed & run off tank water then its not an issue with high intake pressure.

    The OP was asking about skid mount units , so I don't think you need to worry about high hydrant pressures for a brush rig.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 08-19-2011 at 09:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    Arent their some issues with CAFS when hooking up to a pressurized water source and the system not working right?
    If operation is from hydrant need to spec a auto tank fill

    such as Waterous http://www.waterousco.com/pdf/specsh...l%20System.pdf

    We have no hydrants in district but have trained with hydrant in mutual aid area. Our CAFS pumper tanker has a 4" direct tank fill (3000gal tank). Hook hydrant to the tank fill and supply the pump from the booster tank. Gives all the water required for the 140CFM CAFS system supplying monitor on a 100' stick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    If operation is from hydrant need to spec a auto tank fill

    such as Waterous http://www.waterousco.com/pdf/specsh...l%20System.pdf

    We have no hydrants in district but have trained with hydrant in mutual aid area. Our CAFS pumper tanker has a 4" direct tank fill (3000gal tank). Hook hydrant to the tank fill and supply the pump from the booster tank. Gives all the water required for the 140CFM CAFS system supplying monitor on a 100' stick.
    We have an early version of this, and it works very well. Ours is teed to the intake relief valve ahead of the master inlet valve, rather than having a dedicated inlet. That way, the supply line gets hooked up to the same place every time. We've gotten to the point where we do almost everything from tank, CAFS or not. If we need to go to bigger water (above 750 or so GPM), just open the MIV and feed directly into the pump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    We have an early version of this, and it works very well. Ours is teed to the intake relief valve ahead of the master inlet valve, rather than having a dedicated inlet. That way, the supply line gets hooked up to the same place every time. We've gotten to the point where we do almost everything from tank, CAFS or not. If we need to go to bigger water (above 750 or so GPM), just open the MIV and feed directly into the pump.
    Same setup with our autofill valve on our CAFS unit and as you said supply line is hooked up the same way and same place every time.

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    Default bobbydee341

    islandfire03
    Can your CET unit be used for structure fires? How often do you train or need to operate this system? Does it have Class B capabilities? Is the learning process difficult? We are a small rural vfd. Any other info would we helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbydee341 View Post
    islandfire03
    Can your CET unit be used for structure fires? How often do you train or need to operate this system? Does it have Class B capabilities? Is the learning process difficult? We are a small rural vfd. Any other info would we helpful.
    I suppose it could be used for structure fires ,but with only a 1 1/2 discharge preconnect and another 1 1/2 discharge it probably won't get the flow you would want. It also only has a 300 gal water tank. We do use it for exposure control in our wooded areas as it can put down a good blanket of clingy foam on trees and brush to prevent spread into the surrounding area.

    No on class B foam

    Like anything new it takes a little practice to learn how to make it work, but it's really not complicated. Last call we used it on ,it took about 2 minutes from arrival to spraying a nice soupy CAFS solution 200 feet from the road. I hadn't used it in a couple of months.
    Start the engine
    engage the compressor and foam pro switches.
    pull line
    open discharge

    By the time the line is pulled you can have the unit ready to go.

    It does add one more engine driven unit to the maintenance cost. Servicing the kubota is in the neighborhood of $170.00 per year, compressor oil & filter $85.00. This is addition to the annual chassis service for the F-550.

    Looking at the CET website , I see they do now offer an option for class B foam
    Last edited by islandfire03; 08-22-2011 at 07:00 PM.

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