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Thread: Why CAFS?

  1. #51
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    Default Cafs

    My department does not use CAFS due to the initial cost of the systems and maintenance problems in early apparatus. We do carry class A foam and I for one routinely batch mix foam in our booster tank for rapid knockdown of any type of class A fires. While the "air" and "foam" components do not absorb BTU's, the foam does allow the water to penetrate to the seat of the fire. It's a simple reduction in surface tension of the water. If you have the option of extinguishing a fire with 2500 gallons or 300 gallons, isn't the choice logical? The stuff works.

    I review NIOSH firefighter fatality reports and have never seen CAFS mentioned as a factor in any death or injury. I could have missed it, but I would like more info on that claim.

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    I am pro cafs. I have used it on class A fires many times.

    I ride with a new company.

    Next week we plan of going to the academy, and doing a fuel pad fire simulation. I understand from a Deputy Chief a sister company or two will be bringing CAFS Engines for us to "demo"

    Question for the group, what do I need to know about CAFS on liquid fires?

    Never worked with it on a liquids fire, I am assuming a thicker, blanketing foam is best, start at one end and try to cover the entire liquids pad, offering a blanket, trying not to disrupt the blanket, and try not to forcefully apply the foam so not to disrupt the underlying liquids.

    Anyone have some wisdom they can share

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    Quote Originally Posted by oper77 View Post
    I am pro cafs. I have used it on class A fires many times.

    I ride with a new company.

    Next week we plan of going to the academy, and doing a fuel pad fire simulation. I understand from a Deputy Chief a sister company or two will be bringing CAFS Engines for us to "demo"

    Question for the group, what do I need to know about CAFS on liquid fires?

    Never worked with it on a liquids fire, I am assuming a thicker, blanketing foam is best, start at one end and try to cover the entire liquids pad, offering a blanket, trying not to disrupt the blanket, and try not to forcefully apply the foam so not to disrupt the underlying liquids.

    Anyone have some wisdom they can share
    You want to use class A foam on a class B fire? If you do get it extinguished, don't expect the blanket to last. Re-ignition will be a definite possibility. If any polar solvents are involved don't expect to actually put it out, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oper77 View Post
    I am pro cafs. I have used it on class A fires many times.

    I ride with a new company.

    Next week we plan of going to the academy, and doing a fuel pad fire simulation. I understand from a Deputy Chief a sister company or two will be bringing CAFS Engines for us to "demo"

    Question for the group, what do I need to know about CAFS on liquid fires?

    Never worked with it on a liquids fire, I am assuming a thicker, blanketing foam is best, start at one end and try to cover the entire liquids pad, offering a blanket, trying not to disrupt the blanket, and try not to forcefully apply the foam so not to disrupt the underlying liquids.

    Anyone have some wisdom they can share
    Experiment and LEARN. I think there will be a lesson in this for you. Not sure you will be real impressed depending on who's foam you use. At the least,you'll find out what you DON'T want to do. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Experiment and LEARN. I think there will be a lesson in this for you. Not sure you will be real impressed depending on who's foam you use. At the least,you'll find out what you DON'T want to do. T.C.
    Good point T.C. Thanks.

    I was shocked when the DChief stated that we have people bring CAFS engines for us to demo. I stated, Deputy, the website states we are doing fuel pads and liquid fires. He said I understand that, and that is what we plan on doing.

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    Hello All,

    Why CAFS? Because it works great!

    My department has been using CAFS since 1998. We are a combination fire department located in Northern NJ. We use CAF on all fires we go to that we would or could use water on to extinguish. If you can extinguish a fire with plain water, you will do it much more efficiently and safer with CAFS. CAFS is like any other tool we have in the fire service you have to learn about and train with it. CAFS is not complicated, just a little different.

    Here is a picture of a residential structure fire we had a couple months ago. It is showing the rear, exterior deck that the fire started on and burned into the house.

    My guys attacked this fire, entering thru the front door with an 1 3/4" CAFS line, flowing approximately 100gpm utilizing a straight bore15/16" tip. We used 147 gallons of water (CAFS) to knockdown this fire and 475 gallons total to extinguish and overhaul.

    CAFS is not a magic potion nor are my firefighters wizards. CAFS is simply a tool that when put in the hands of knowledgeable and trained firefighters works, makes the fire scene safer for firefighters and causes far less water damage.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Chief Lou
    "Got Foam?"
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    Last edited by CaptLou; 09-21-2011 at 08:33 PM.

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    Lou,

    I think you are the reason my past company purchased CAFS. I remember meeting you on some Demo.

    We appreciated everything you showed us back then, and since then have purchased two units.

    I am now in Delaware, and my new company is also contemplating purchasing a CAFS piece


    Quote Originally Posted by CaptLou View Post
    Hello All,

    Why CAFS? Because it works great!

    My department has been using CAFS since 1998. We are a combination fire department located in Northern NJ. We use CAF on all fires we go to that we would or could use water on to extinguish. If you can extinguish a fire with plain water, you will do it much more efficiently and safer with CAFS. CAFS is like any other tool we have in the fire service you have to learn about and train with it. CAFS is not complicated, just a little different.

    Here is a picture of a residential structure fire we had a couple months ago. It is showing the rear, exterior deck that the fire started on and burned into the house.



    My guys attacked this fire, entering thru the front door with an 1 3/4" CAFS line, flowing approximately 100gpm utilizing a straight bore15/16" tip. We used 147 gallons of water (CAFS) to knockdown this fire and 475 gallons total to extinguish and overhaul.

    CAFS is not a magic potion nor are my firefighters wizards. CAFS is simply a tool that when put in the hands of knowledgeable and trained firefighters works, makes the fire scene safer for firefighters and causes far less water damage.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Chief Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    Chief Lou-

    You say that you crew was flowing 100GPM. I am trying to figure out what effects the reduced GPM flow of the handline has in regards to structural firefighting. The way that i understand it the reduced surface tension of the water increases the amount of BTUs that the water can realisticly absorb. So a fire that with plain water would require a 200 GPM flow would only reguire a 100GPM flows (numbers just made up). Is that correct?

    I assume that the GPM flow changes based on how wet or dry the finished foam is. Is that correct?

    My biggest red flag with CAFS is the lack of negatives about it. I find very little in regards to the cons or pitfalls of CAFS. As with anything in the fire service there has to be positive and negatives. Most of the info i read on CAFS read like a carefully constructed National foam advertisment. Or when you read the fine print the test performed was paid for and sponsered by a bussiness that has a special interest in CAFS. I find it hard to believe that it is the goose that layed the golden egg as it is often presented. Just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    My biggest red flag with CAFS is the lack of negatives about it. I find very little in regards to the cons or pitfalls of CAFS.
    RFD,

    While Chief Lou can probably give you far more information on the technical aspects of CAFS, I can just give you a little information about my personal experience.

    When we were in the early stages of spec'ing the new pumper at home, we had Goochland bring one of the new new CAFS pumpers over for us to use during an acquired structure burn. Although we're hardly scientists, we tried to simulate each fire in each room exactly the same so we could use timers, heat detectors, and TICs to evaulate the effectiveness of CAFS versus straight water. We found that while the straight water was slightly more effective in lowering the initial ceiling temperature, the CAFS lines would cool the fire more quickly, used far less water, made the hoselines more manuervable, and made the seat of the fire far harder to re-start when we tried to.

    We used a 2.5" CAFS line outside, and a single member was able to place, move, and use the line with no difficulty.

    I was talking last week to a fire chief in rural Virginia locality who purchased a CAFS engine and standard tanker at the same time a few years ago. He only half-jokingly said that if he'd known how effective CAFS was going to be, he wouldn't have spent the $200,000 on the tanker that's only used for mutual aid calls now.

    Give me a couple of days, and I'll see if I can dig up our test results from the burn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    RFD,

    While Chief Lou can probably give you far more information on the technical aspects of CAFS, I can just give you a little information about my personal experience.

    When we were in the early stages of spec'ing the new pumper at home, we had Goochland bring one of the new new CAFS pumpers over for us to use during an acquired structure burn. Although we're hardly scientists, we tried to simulate each fire in each room exactly the same so we could use timers, heat detectors, and TICs to evaulate the effectiveness of CAFS versus straight water. We found that while the straight water was slightly more effective in lowering the initial ceiling temperature, the CAFS lines would cool the fire more quickly, used far less water, made the hoselines more manuervable, and made the seat of the fire far harder to re-start when we tried to.

    We used a 2.5" CAFS line outside, and a single member was able to place, move, and use the line with no difficulty.

    I was talking last week to a fire chief in rural Virginia locality who purchased a CAFS engine and standard tanker at the same time a few years ago. He only half-jokingly said that if he'd known how effective CAFS was going to be, he wouldn't have spent the $200,000 on the tanker that's only used for mutual aid calls now.

    Give me a couple of days, and I'll see if I can dig up our test results from the burn.

    Thanks I am trying to get in on a meeting with that guy from goochland through my part itme job. We were suppose to meet when hurricane irene decided to alter the plans slightly.

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    2 separate occaisions I watched guys on ground ladders open a CAFS line and get blown off the ladder.

    Ya, I guess I'd blame the operator and nozzleman but those 2 times left a huge negative in my mind.

    But for us...there simply is not enough need for the system. In a busier area...I'd probably consider it more.
    "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=oper77;1295722]I am pro cafs. I have used it on class A fires many times.

    I ride with a new company.

    Next week we plan of going to the academy, and doing a fuel pad fire simulation. I understand from a Deputy Chief a sister company or two will be bringing CAFS Engines for us to "demo"

    Question for the group, what do I need to know about CAFS on liquid fires?

    Never worked with it on a liquids fire, I am assuming a thicker, blanketing foam is best, start at one end and try to cover the entire liquids pad, offering a blanket, trying not to disrupt the blanket, and try not to forcefully apply the foam so not to disrupt the underlying liquids.

    Anyone have some wisdom they can share[/QUOTE

    An important characteristic of Class A foam is that it will bond with anything that is carbon-based. This is where Class A and Class B foams differ. Although Class B foam reduces the surface tension of water, it repels carbon. One reason Class B foam works on a liquid hydrocarbon fire is that it floats on top of the fuel. Because Class B foam doesn’t bond with carbon, it is not as effective on Class A fuel fires.

    Class A foam can be effective on small scale Class B fires if you use an air-aspirated nozzle or compressed-air injection system to apply the foam in a thick layer of bubbles. This will isolate the oxygen from the fuel just like Class B foam. Class A foams do not meet national standards for use with liquid hydrocarbon fires, which require them to be able to contain hydrocarbon vapors for at least 15 minutes. Because of this time factor, although applying Class A foam to a hydrocarbon-type fire will extinguish the fire, it will not suppress the vapors for long; they could reignite if a heat source is present. However, applying more Class A foam will work until the Class B foam operation is set up. When available, simply begin to apply the Class B foam on top of the Class A foam when adequate supply is established.

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    Hi All,

    RFD21C, let me try to answer your CAFS questions.

    You say that you crew was flowing 100GPM. I am trying to figure out what effects the reduced GPM flow of the handline has in regards to structural firefighting. The way that i understand it the reduced surface tension of the water increases the amount of BTUs that the water can realisticly absorb. So a fire that with plain water would require a 200 GPM flow would only reguire a 100GPM flows (numbers just made up). Is that correct?
    BTU's are simply absorbed more efficiently in a CAFS attack because we are absorbing them differently compared to water only attacks. In a water attack we are absorbing BTU's with solid drops of water. A solid drop of water only has the ability to absorb BTU's on its perimeter. Where as in a CAFS attack we are flowing air bubbles carrying water on each of the bubbles' perimeter. It is a hollow bubble that is formed from solid water droplets. A solid droplet of water can make 5-7 bubbles. Each water portion or CAFS bubble created absorbs BTU's. They are all stuck together in a honeycomb pattern as they are discharged from a straight bore nozzle. CAFS bubbles are very tiny, small uniform bubbles (10:1 ratio) that pop at approximately 140 digress. Some outer bubbles pop and others protect the inner/core bubbles which make it to a surface, then pop and release the water they carry which absorbs quickly into what it is applied to due to reduced surface tension cause by the class A foam (soap). When plain water hits the surface it is applied to most of it beads up and runs away because of hi surface tension. So we flow a higher GPM, in a plain water attack, to compensate for the inefficiency of the plain water.

    In the late 1990's Robert Taylor wrote a white paper for the NFA on the topic of CAFS and limited manpower. He document waters inefficiency and CAFS pros and cons. It is a good source of information.


    I assume that the GPM flow changes based on how wet or dry the finished foam is. Is that correct?
    Yes, GPM is based on how wet or dry the finished foam is. We flow at a 2:1 ratio (GPM to CFM). You can only fit so much liquid/air into a given size hoseline. When you allow more air (CFM) into a hoseline GPM flow goes down. More water added (GPM) into the hoseline GPM flow goes up.

    My biggest red flag with CAFS is the lack of negatives about it. I find very little in regards to the cons or pitfalls of CAFS. As with anything in the fire service there has to be positive and negatives. Most of the info i read on CAFS read like a carefully constructed National foam advertisment. Or when you read the fine print the test performed was paid for and sponsered by a bussiness that has a special interest in CAFS. I find it hard to believe that it is the goose that layed the golden egg as it is often presented. Just my two cents.
    CAFS is not a "magic bullet" that will put every fire. It is a tool. A tool that in my opinion makes water more efficient and firefighters a little bit more safer during the fire attack. That cons as I see them with CAFS are usually related to misuse or miss application of it. Understanding what CAF is and how to use it isn't hard or complicated. Training with CAF is the simple secret. And learning about what it is and how it works.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe.

    Chief Lou
    "Got Foam?"
    RangerJake72 likes this.

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    I believe the quality of CAFS that allows the lower flow rates as compared to plain water, is the "stickiness" ( and that's a technical term, coined by ME, lol). IE, the finished foam sticks to fuel surfaces, unlike water, which runs off.

    The surfactant and carbon loving qualities allow it to penetrate, and be absorbed into carbon based fuels. (Charred wood, being very high in carbon, repels water.) This has the effect of not only cooling the fuels, but providing burn back resistance as well.

    Bottom line: CAFS makes more efficient use of water, allowing for a reduced flow rate, and less total usage vs plain water.

    One of the reasons for the high rate of flow we use, is that much of the water runs off. Water extinguishes fires pretty well, but due to it's high surface tension, among other things, it isn't very efficient. Thus the need for beefy flow rates. We also like to build in a healthy margin- just in case the fit hits the shan we'll have some extra flow available.

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    Chief Lou-

    Thanks for that explination helps. It does bring up another question in my mind.

    What effects does cafs have on the thermal layers in a fire compartment? since the CAF stream will absobe more heat more rapidly then a plain water stream is it resonable to conclude that more heat is going to be absorbed before hitting the burning material. thus inverting the thermal layers and increasing the steam production. For lack of a better example Fog versus straight stream. obviously the effects will not be to that extend. From my limited experience (2 fires) with CAF hose stream I did not see a difference. However both fires were self vented and no longer in a contained fire compartment.

    Whilie I understand the hands on training is critical to CAFS as with any tool in the fire service. I am interested in the more scientific effects of CAFS and how it relates to fire behavior. more for personal knowledge versus practical street knowledge. I like to understand the how and the why behind things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFD21C View Post
    Chief Lou-

    Thanks for that explination helps. It does bring up another question in my mind.

    What effects does cafs have on the thermal layers in a fire compartment? since the CAF stream will absobe more heat more rapidly then a plain water stream is it resonable to conclude that more heat is going to be absorbed before hitting the burning material. thus inverting the thermal layers and increasing the steam production. For lack of a better example Fog versus straight stream. obviously the effects will not be to that extend. From my limited experience (2 fires) with CAF hose stream I did not see a difference. However both fires were self vented and no longer in a contained fire compartment.

    Whilie I understand the hands on training is critical to CAFS as with any tool in the fire service. I am interested in the more scientific effects of CAFS and how it relates to fire behavior. more for personal knowledge versus practical street knowledge. I like to understand the how and the why behind things.
    I know this thread is a couple years old, but I'm trying to learn as much about CAFs as I can. We are supposed to order an engine within the next 4 years and I'm trying to find out more about how it works and the pros and cons. I've read through this entire thread and there was a decent amount of information. I know there is a study that is supposed to be released sometime this year in regards to CAFs.

    RFD21C how is your department liking or not liking CAFs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad50FF View Post
    I know this thread is a couple years old, but I'm trying to learn as much about CAFs as I can. We are supposed to order an engine within the next 4 years and I'm trying to find out more about how it works and the pros and cons. I've read through this entire thread and there was a decent amount of information. I know there is a study that is supposed to be released sometime this year in regards to CAFs.

    RFD21C how is your department liking or not liking CAFs?
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    Delaware County

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad50FF View Post
    Delaware County
    Well shoot....We're in Montgomery County and we have even done burns with CAFS down on Calcon Hook Road before.....You're welcome to come up sometime, wish I knew this about a month ago when we did some live burns.
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    I'll have to take you up on that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad50FF View Post
    RFD21C how is your department liking or not liking CAFs?
    I personally do not have cafs on my truck. However the engine company next to me just put a cafs engine in service. From the coffee table talk I have heard from these guys and the other guys that have cafs. They actually don't use it. They just mix in the foam with out the air. They have had several mechanical issues with the cafs which has lead to increased down time for the rig. Over the past few years we have had a couple of injuries from cafs. One being the ff closed the nozzle and the increased reaction blew her off her feet and caused her to knock her head. The 2nd being a rear discharge pressurized with air from the compressor. The next shift the dpo removed the cap with a spanner without thinking to open the drain. The cap blew off and broke his hand.He is still out of work due to several complications and very might be a career ending injury. Which would end his 30 plus year career. Obviously he is not a huge fan. I still do not have a personal opinion on it yet. But in a few weeks we should catch a fire with the new engine next door so time will tell

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    Default Old school versus new school.

    I have yet to see a CAFS sytem yet the is KISS. Traditional foam when properly done can just as effective as CAFS. You can make traditional foam darn near CAFS if the right injection sytem and nozzle type.
    Last edited by SuperFire123; 07-18-2013 at 03:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squad50FF View Post
    I'll have to take you up on that
    If you want to set up a live burn down there and invite us down, I think we could be convinced to come down there and you guys can have some line time- I'm pretty sure we have some folks who are either new and need some extra training or some guys that need (our) required annual live burn. Inbox me or ChiefEngineer11 if you are interested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weruj1 View Post
    in the FWIW column..........we have a Foam-Pro around the pump system preset @ 0.4 % for attack and it gives us good knock down.......we dont use it on every fire...........and you are all getting GREAT deals on foam as we are paying more than that for Silvex (I think).......glad it works for you but for us it can get pricey.
    We have that on my POC dept. engines. Not everybody needs CAFS. Systems like Foam-Pro are much less expensive, and require less maintenance, and are easier to use. We have plenty of water where we're at, so foam is used when we NEED it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    I have yet to see a CAFS sytem yet the is KISS. Traditional foam when properly done can just as effective as CAFS. You can make traditional foam darn near CAFS if the right injection sytem and nozzle type.
    You must be using the big P systems then.

    We have a waterous eclipse CAFS system on our 13 yo engine. It has been trouble free and only normal maintenance has been required to keep it working fine.
    Some of the systems out there just plain are over engineered and have far too many components to fail.
    We did have a flow sensor go bad right after placing the unit in service back in 2000,but that was fixed under warrantee and the system has worked well since.
    We can go from wet white water to shaving cream with just a small adjustment and back to plain water on any of our discharges or deck gun at the flip of a switch.

    All depends on who designs & builds it.
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