1. #1
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    Question "Through the Pump" foam operations

    Here is a question for you foam jockeys out there. Is it "safe" to flow foam, (not CAFS,) through your pump from another pumper?

    I am being told by a mutual aid chief that he refuses to pump Class A foam to me because it will ruin the pumps. There is also a firefighter with my department, who works for an apparatus repair shop, who said that he will walk away from the pump if I ever order foam solution to be pumped to the unit he is running.

    I cannot see the harm, if you properly flush your pump afterwards. I cannot understand one of the biggest foam suppliers in the country selling an appliance that produces foam solution on the intake side of the pump, (Foam Midget, National Foam.)

    Maybe I missed something in all the training I have attended, and helped instruct. I would like to think that we are all not wasting our money by putting foam systems on our pumpers. It would seem shame to have 100+ gallons of foam sitting in pumpers at a flammable liquid fire and still have to wait for the nearest ARFF rig to come from an hour away!

  2. #2
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    Cool pumping foam

    dcfa, there is no difference in pumping Class B or AFFF either through a crash truck or a structural pumper. AFFF is corrosive over time and we have never had a pump fail certification due to corrosion and we pump quite a bit of B foam through them. One place you could run into trouble is if the two foams become mixed. The mixture will gel and your whole foam system will have to be removed to be cleaned. You are right on in flushing the system after use but it will not corrode while it is being used.

    Class A foam is for use on structural fires and B is for flammable liquid fires. A reminder I give the guys to aid in picking the correct foam is "A" is for structures like the "A" shape and "B" stands for "B"ombers.
    "dfwscotty@hotmail.com"

  3. #3
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    We use our CAFS unit for 1st in on everything. Our tender has a monitor and 3 handlines plus a red line (brush/trash). As an experiment, we poured some foam into our tender - no harm, it tends to lubricate the valves a bit, gives better penetration to the water when used direct from the tender. It does foam up a bit when we dump it into the pool.
    As a side note, we use the red line to wash the trucks, they clean up quick and they even smell good! (This might be an idea for volunteers wanting to do a car wash to raise $$$).

  4. #4
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    Tanker61's Avatar
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    Post Foam through the Truck

    Foam through the pump is HARD on the pump packing.
    Listen to the guy who works at the repair shop.
    If you are bound and determined to put soap in your
    truck, pour a box of Ivory Snow in the tank once a year.
    Its mild and lubricates everything.
    Stay safe!
    He who says he has finished learning, needs to begin again.

    Go Houston Texans!

  5. #5
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    Also largely depends on the pump you are using. Not all pumps use the 'packing' style, some pumps have mechanical seals, you will see this on many "euro" pump designs such as Rosenbauer NH series pumps like we run on all our type 3 apparatus.

    We run through-the-pump and foam pro's (direct injection) across our fleet. We have scene no ill effects with either. We will flush our pump and hose lines after any foam use. I am sure there was far more issues with older pumps and foams, however even coming from a Military base will lots of foam and AFFF foams, we never saw any issues. I would not leave foam concentrate on metal as it can be mildly corrosive and I have seen it pit some paint and such (actually think its more base than acidic)

    We have pumped from one truck to another with foam and have not scene any issues. It should be in solution foam (mixed water foam) and without air (finished foam) so the pump should really not care. We have even played with sending CAFS through a first in non cafs unit and had success. Not sure if we would do that at a fire, but it worked really well taking a CAFS 2.5 into the discharge manifold through a discharge a on normal pump and throwing CAFS out of the other existing in service lines. Again, we where just playing around one day.

  6. #6
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    There's nothing wrong with it. Williams makes through and around the pump foam eductors for this. The ATP turns your engine into a foam pumper, with foam coming out of every discharge. There are no issue. Foam is not all that different from soap. It's not truly foamy until it's aerated at the nozzle. Prior to that, it's just a slick solution of a surfactant and water. It's not going to make your pump cavitate (because there's no air in the foam until it comes out INTO the air). Thoroughly flush the intakes, pump, and discharges, and any hose and appliances. Pretty straightforward.

    If these ignoramuses continue to stomp their feet, contact Hale, Waterous, and other pump manufacturers. Contact Elkhart. Contact the foam companies. Provide their responses to the whiners, and tell them to shove it. If they still throw fits, take it up the chain, and let the chiefs handle it between departments.
    Last edited by footrat; 06-04-2013 at 01:57 PM.

  7. #7
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    The fire service (including my department) has failed to recognize the incredible advantages when using these new foams and foam systems like CAFS. Class A foam is available for batch mixing or educting on every engine in my department (all 58 of them) and very few use it. It defies common sense. I carry 6 one-gallon jugs and we just dump it in the booster tank (one gallon lasts several tank loads). Works great on brush fires and overhaul.

    One reason for the reluctance are the silly notions that foam will damage pumps or tanks. Buy it and use it! It works. Foam manufacturers and pump manufacturers have been developing these products for decades now. When are we going to stop being skeptical?

  8. #8
    Let's talk fire trucks!
    BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Anyone notice the OP asked his question 11 years ago?
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Anyone notice the OP asked his question 11 years ago?
    That's funny - I didn't notice. I didn't know the forum had been around that long. Do you think the OP is still around here?

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