1. #1
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    Default CAFS Nozzle Selection....

    We've got a new pumper on the way with a CAFS system, and I'm trying to find out what types of nozzles that people have used with CAFS and what type of performance they're gotten.

    Chief was just over at another department for a meeting and got in the dicussion with one of their officers, and he said that they use smooth bore nozzles on all of their CAFS lines. After much trial and error they found that that's what gave them the best performance when the fit was hitting the shan. Having come from the northeast, I know FDNY is all about the smooth bore, and after taking a live burn class with some of their guys a few years back, I'm convinced of the knockdown power. So now Chief put me on the trail of digging up some info about pros and cons of different nozzles with CAFS, so here I am. Digging away.

    Mostly because the department has always used TFTs, so moving to anything else is going to be a bullfight since the "we've never done it that way before" mentality is quite deep with some of the gang. I've been playing phone tag with the Akron rep about the Sabrejets, so if anyone has played with those I'd like to hear about those too.

    Thanks for the input.

    Brian
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    Default Caf tips

    Bryan, ya don't even need a nozzle for CAFS. Having said that, most people aren't going to trip to just a shutoff. I recommend a breakapart nozzle. Combi tip with just a straight shutoff or one of those with the built in smoothbore. Your choice. Having said that, Elkhart and Akron will sell you a CAFS tip. Nothing more then what I consider a shaper tube screwed on the end of your shutoff. One recommendation is get a pistol grip on your shutoff. First time I ever played with one I opened the tip and went to grab the hose behind the nob, the hose whipped around and painted me with foam. Trick there is to open the nob with one hand while maintaining POSITIVE control of hose with the other. Remember you don't have the water filling the hose and creating the all around pressure that keeps the line inflated for lack of a better term. Good luck, let us knwo what you come up with.

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    Hi BC79er,

    What is working best for my department is an 1 3/8" ball valve, with pistol grip, and a 15/16" straight bore tip. Break-apart type nozzle. To understand why a straight bore works best is simple. A CAFS line is a hose line that is filled with very small uniform air bubbles. Each bubble carries with it foam solution. This is why CAFS can be pump further and higher compared to a water only hose line. NO friction loss. The CAFS hose line is a pneumatic line. The water hose line is a hydraulic line, therefore friction loss. We pump our 1 ¾” hose lines at 80 psi main pump discharge pressure, regardless of the length or number of lines. This gives us a flow rate of about 105 gpm, per line.

    With that being said, think about what a fog nozzle does to a water stream. It is designed to take a solid stream of water and break it into drops of water. A CAFS line is already tiny air bubbles with solution around each bubble. The fog nozzle will pop the air bubbles and literally destroy the beautiful CAFS stream. The small, uniform air bubbles are 1/3 the size of a droplet of water that comes out of a fog nozzle. Faster heat absorption! Now, why the 15/16" tip? The tip is tapered from 1 3/8" down to 15/16". As the CAFS stream passes through the tip, some of the bubbles on the outer perimeter are popped. This allows for a little, wetter stream for fire attack, but still giving you a high quality attack line with lots of bubbles. To make dryer foam, (shaving cream) less water is put into the hose line and the 15/16" tip is unscrewed. The foam is discharged right out of the 1 3/8" open bail. Works Great. But this is an exposure line only as it is made at a flow rate of 35-40 gpm.

    Now an automatic nozzle will work on a CAFS line but very, very poorly. WHY? Think about what an automatic nozzle is doing. It is hydraulically maintaining 100 psi at the tip. Well, a CAFS line is a pneumatic (AIR) and it will totally "confuse" the nozzle. Yes something will come out but who knows what it will be. Again an 1 3/8" open bail with a 15/16" tip works best.

    We do use a fog nozzle when we want a very wet, runny solution. For overhaul and deep seated fire like bailed hay, mulch, leaves or mattresses.

    Training, training and education on CAFS is the key to success with it.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Capt. Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    Capt Lou, Citadel, thanks for the info.

    I can't agree more about the training, training, training. That's why I've been thinking about the Saberjet because we'll be running the truck before all of the drivers and crews are completely comfortable with CAFS, so odds are the first few times we'll be flowing all water through the lines. I'm trying to avoid buying two nozzles, and the comfort level of the pump operator and crew always have to be taken into consideration so I don't want to stick someone in a situation that they're fighting with the equipment instead of putting out the fire. Hopefully that won't be the case since I'll be taking the whole station down to the burn field to work with it when it comes in. I can't wait for it. I might not be able to get my helmet toasted anymore, but it will definitely give us all a better shot at going home after the fire.

    Thanks again and stay safe.

    Brian

    PS: More feedback please. The more people that I can get opinions from the better. Even if you just agree with what's already been said. No hanging chads from Florida though.

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    Hi BC79er,

    I've had the opportunity to try and use the Saberjet nozzle in a CAFS application. As nozzles go, it works just as the manufacturer says. But I still prefer the break-apart nozzles for the following reason: The Saberjet is a heavy, bulky nozzle. The straight bore tip is fixed (you have the option of 3 sizes), meaning you cannot change the tip to a different diameter without a tool. What this means is if you want to make a really dry, quality exposure line (shaving cream) you must shut down the line and change nozzles. Another issue is training with this nozzle. If you are not familiar with the operation of this nozzle, you control the straight stream by opening and closing the ball valve and the fog stream is controlled by turning the nozzle tip. You can flow straight stream, fog or both together. I would "DEMO" this nozzle prior to buying it.

    With the break-apart nozzles you shut off the ball valve and change the tip. If you want a fog nozzle leave the fog tip on. Once you have trained with CAFS remove the fog tip and put on the straight bore tip. The break-apart nozzles are probably "less expensive" than the Saberjet. And dry foam (shaving cream) simply remove the tip and flow form the open bail.

    One other advantage to the break-apart nozzles is; how many times have you come up short with the line? On the break-apart ball valve the 1 1/2" thread that tip is connected to is that of a 1 3/4" fire hose. You shut off the nozzle, take off the tip and attach another few lengths of hose. Put on another nozzle (ball valve) on the hose with the tip, open the ball valve and you are good to go without ever having to shut down the line from the engine.

    Hope it helps.

    Be Safe,

    Capt. Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    It does, thanks. I've got a demo Saberjet coming that we're going to play with. I'll take a look at the break-away as well. Odds are we'll go the Saberjet route because Houston runs those on their CAFS trucks and hi-rise packs now, and is soliciting bids for 700 more to replace every nozzle in the fleet. Our day crew is mostly HFD so a lot of things we do so as not to move their cheese that much when they run with us. I also found out that Phoenix is going the Saberjet route, after a really long testing period.

    I do like the versatility of the break-away with being able to extend line, but so far in 10 years in the service I've only had to extend one line, and that was only a few months ago at a field fire. Not that it won't ever happen again, which is why I'll be checking them out too. Thanks again.

    Brian

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    Default

    We have a CAFS truck on the way, and a local nozzle manufacturer( not Elkhart, although they are only a 45 minute drive!) that you might have heard of, Task Force Tips, has given us a demo of a new nozzle of theirs. It is essentially a pistol grip combination nozzle that you can remove the end from and use the shutoff part alone. But wait!! There's more!! It also has a insert that can be changed in the end of the shutoff for different bore sizes. Don't remember the exact size range, but it was pretty good.
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    Task Force Automatics are what we've got now. I was just perusing their web site for anything and I didn't see such a nozzle there. Any chance you remember the name of it so I can check back?

    Thanks.

    Although the 50-100psi range on the Saberjets is kind of nice. I can't see using anything other than a 15/16th's bore. And as with most other things in the fire service, if it has removable parts, they will get removed and lost or left somewhere, so having something interchangeable would be good for versatility, but I can't see changing tips at any point surrounding a call. TFTs are nice, but the Saberjets are running about $200-300 less than the TFT Automatics for 1.5" threads. Adds up after a while too. I would imagine that the nozzle you played with cost more than the Automatics. But still we'll have to play with them both to really know.

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    We use a TFT slide valve breakapart nozzle, with a 1 1/4 inch smooth bore built in the valve and drop in 15/16, 1, ¾, 1 1/8” tips. We have 9 CAFS rigs the most of any FD in Texas right now. We have 72 attack lines equipped that way. We use the TFT Blitz fire monitor with a 1 3/8 inch smooth bore tip as well and 2 inch smooth bores on our deck guns. Our Foam Pro is configured to make CAFS at 0.001%, yes one tenth of one percent and it works great. It is the default style, that when you engage the pump it is already pumping foam no operator intervention. In addition, we also have pre-set CAFS when the pump is engaged the compressor is already on. We don’t have any air valves, all discharges have a wet or dry lever that sets foam quality, they are normally left in wet for structure fire attack. There is also a water/Class A position on the lever.

    Our CAF systems is also setup to default to water if the foam or air were to shut off.

    I doubt you’d like the Sabre Jet with CAFS, the tips are too small.

    We pump 80 psi pump pressure on all 1 ¾, 2 ½ and master streams…at that pressure it will out reach any water stream.

    The ability to change tips at the nozzles leaves the nozzleman totally in charge of foam quality.

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    Thanks for the info on TFT tx44. I'll have to take a look at that nozzle and see if I can get a demo of that too. Odds are it won't go far though. Kinda tough when the soon to be largest CAFS department in TX (HFD) is going with them on every line they have after testing all sorts of nozzles for months. They already have the Saberjet on their current CAFS trucks and hi-rise packs, and since they're ordering 700 more, I assume they like them. We've got so many of their guys on paid crew it's hard to not take their hands-on experience with them. But who knows, maybe they didn't play with the TFT either. I'm aiming for the most flexibility without having to change tips, nozzles, or basic tactics.

    I am curious about y'all using the larger tip size. With an 1-1/4" tip, how far does that stream shoot on a CAFS line? I know what it does on a water line, and that's too much for the average house or apartment fire, you'd be blowing right through the drywall. With only .001 (i.e .1%) foam, now much air is in that line to take the oomph out of whatever that stream hits? I just have visions of people blowing holes through everything and not putting any fire out.

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    We use an 1 1/4" tip on our CAFS engines. It gives you quite a bit of reach. Basically the same as a standard smoothbore of the same diameter. CAFS systems in general are designed to be used with basically just a ball shut-off. A fog type nozzles imparts way too much restriction on the flow and does not work correctly. A good blanket of foam is nearly impossible to make with one of these nozzles. We always hook up an auto flow fog nozzle for training our new guys. This lets them experience the difference. Our use of the smoothbore tip is not technically correct either, but it gives a good compromise in foam generation, reach, and the ability to switch to a non-CAFS attack on the fly.

    Reach is a big part of the game with CAFS. You want to be able to hit it at a distance so you can give the foam time to splatter around and coat everything. You don't get much splatter effect if you are sitting right next to your target. As far as blowing down drywall and having too much reach, the CAFS line can be gated down to provide a more "airy" foam mixture with a bit less punch. It does a lot less damage than you would expect. This, however, does not work when employed with a fog type nozzle.
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    Hi all,

    I have a few questions is for imtxff44.

    Who manufactured your CAFS system? How "good" is the exposure line when you dry it out and are injecting concentrate at .1%? If I inject at less than .2% I get "slug flow", dry or wet. I have tried 5 different manufactured foam concentrates and all will not let me inject below .2% and still get a quality line with no slug flow. How is the quality of your master stream flows? Again at .1% I get a very "bubble less" flow. My CAFS attack lines are injected at .3% and my CAFS master streams at .5%. Would like to know what type of foam concentrate you are using and type of proportioner?

    Thanks for info and look forward to "learning" exactly how you do it.

    Be safe,

    Capt. Lou

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    We have two makes, nine hale/pneumax and 3 odens

    We use 3M 1% AFFF at 0.001% Works great, no slug flow, ever.

    The 2 1/4, 2" AND 2 1/2" SB tips reach in excess of 260 feet at a pump pressure of 80 psi.

    Foam Pro 2001

    "Kinda tough when the soon to be largest CAFS department in TX (HFD) is going with them on every line they have after testing all sorts of nozzles for months."

    Well, they only have two operational CAFS trucks today so they are really the 8th largest CAFS user in TX.

    "maybe they didn't play with the TFT either. I'm aiming for the most flexibility without having to change tips, nozzles, or basic tactics."

    That would be the TFT and I think you are right, they don't know enough about CAFS to pick a nozzle yet.

    "I am curious about y'all using the larger tip size. With an 1-1/4" tip, how far does that stream shoot on a CAFS line?"

    130 feet. Mor room for air and water to leave the line.

    "I know what it does on a water line, and that's too much for the average house or apartment fire, you'd be blowing right through the drywall."

    Not with CAFS. One hand control of the line too!

    "With only .001 (i.e .1%) foam, now much air is in that line to take the oomph out of whatever that stream hits?"

    We are flowing 80 gpm water, and 80 cfm

    " I just have visions of people blowing holes through everything and not putting any fire out."

    Hasn't been an issue here.

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    We have been running 1st Defense class "A" foam at about a .06% concentration. It's a different critter than AFFF but similar.

    (Don't quote me on the % concentration, I am not usually at the panel when we run the CAFS.)
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    Hi imtxff44,

    Thanks for filling in some of the blanks. Just a few more questions. What type of fires are you fighting with a 1% AFFF foam concentrate being injected at .1%? As raven said AFFF (class B foam) is a different critter than Class A foam. It is apples and oranges.

    My department is using Class A foam and we use it with our CAFS system. We use it on all types of fires. B foams (AFFF) are designed for Hydro-carbon or Polar solvent type incidents. And they MUST be applied at the % that is recommended by the manufacturer, CAFS or not. If you don't, someone will get hurt. You can't reduce the injection rate for Class B foam (AFFF) just because the finish foam "looks good".

    The Hale/Pneumax system you have sounds like the one my department has. Ours is a Hale single stage pump with a PTO Pneumax CAFS system. Foampro 2002 proportioner. However the operational procedures that you described are allot different than ours. If it is a Pneumax CAFS system you are able to adjust "Wet or Dry" foam by simply opening or closing the water valve with the air valve on. How dose your Pneumax system operate without an air discharge valve? Something doesn’t "sound" right. Please explain.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I'm just trying to better understand how you do what you say you do.

    Be Safe,

    Capt. Lou
    "Got Foam"

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    "And they MUST be applied at the % that is recommended by the manufacturer, CAFS or not."

    That is why we follow the advice of the 3M Product Guide which allows us to use the application rate we use.

    "You can't reduce the injection rate for Class B foam (AFFF) just because the finish foam "looks good". "

    Actually, you can, or they wouldn't put it in their guide would they? We own 79,000 gallons of foam concentrate, we probably use more than anyone on the planet. So we test per the book.

    "The Hale/Pneumax system ... the operational procedures that you described are allot different than ours. "

    Probably just an issue of how you spec the rig.

    "If it is a Pneumax CAFS system you are able to adjust "Wet or Dry" foam by simply opening or closing the water valve with the air valve on."

    It only works that way if you take the off the shelf system.

    "How dose your Pneumax system operate without an air discharge valve?"

    Everything is pre-set to the size line, water and air flow, so it works just like a water discharge, open the spigot and you have perfect CAFS everytime with no controls.

    "Something doesn’t "sound" right. Please explain. "

    We also have a switch on each discharge for a dry foam, wet foam or just Class A with no air. No pump operator involvement is required short of engage the pump, hit the pre-set button on the throttle to hit 80 psi and whoever opens a spigot gets foam.

    "Sorry for all the questions, but I'm just trying to better understand how you do what you say you do."

    We didn't want all the controls, we wanted instant foam all the time. The whole concept of show up at a fire and flowing water on the front lawn in front of the structure and then adding foam concentrate after scrolling though all the foam head controls then adding air by engaging the compressor, then going to run, then playing with air valves and looking at the stream until it is perfect, then attack the fire seemed like a bunch of bull to us, an took too much time but then again we've been operating this way with CAFS for barely 8 years on our entire fleet and our new fleet simply improves on the past.

    Our system defaults to water should the foam or air not work or fail, and it does it automatically.

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    Hi imtxff44,

    Thanks for answering my questions. Still don't understand what exactly you mean by "We didn't want all the controls". Our Pneumax system, as dose all CAFS system has some additional "controls", so I don't quite understand what you mean by your statement. Maybe you can better explain?

    With regards to the 3M foam your department is using. I am trying to better understand how an AFFF class B foam works on a class A fire. I cannot seem to locate or find a copy of the "product guide" for the 3M 1% AFFF foam that you are using. 3M does not have it available on their web site since they do not produce that foam anymore. Do you have a copy of the product guide that you can post or email me? Do you have a copy of the MSDS for the foam that I could have as well? I checked the US Forestry Services list of environmentally approved foams and I don't see the 3M AFFF 1% foam listed. Just want to know how environmentally friendly your foam is or is not.

    Again, thanks for helping me to better understand what you are doing.

    Be safe,

    Capt. Lou

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    I think the biggest difference between Class A and Class B foam is that Class A is designed from the outset for increased wetting ability. Most AFFF is designed to create a vapor seal primarily on flammable liquids. Any wetting effects are secondary. CaptLou is also correct in questioning the environmental friendliness of AFFF. Most types of AFFF Class B foam are not considered environmentally safe, especially when discharged in large quantities. The EPA has a limit for flow of AFFF when the run-off can affect local water supplies. We had a hangar foam system discharge one time and a small quantity leaked into the local water supply. The local EPA people "had a cow" all over us for this.

    I am not sure what the exact rate is, but there is an hourly allowable discharge rate into the local water system for detergents, which is what AFFF is considered to be. I would be curious to see a chemical breakdown of the two types of foam to see how they differ. Is Class A considered a detergent as Class B is?

    By the way, our units use a Hercules FoamPro system. It is just a flip of two switches and opening the discharge to get the CAFS out of our lines. It works for us.
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