1. #1
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    Default Foam System for new truck

    We are working on the spec's for a new truck, and need input on what type of foam system we should use.
    Pump size will be 1250 gpm.
    System will have minimal use, more trianing than fire fighting.
    Low maintanance is a big plus.
    We would like it to be plumd to all discharges.

    Injected, Inducted, Educted ???

    What manufacture?

    Thanks

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    Hi bjlffire,

    With regards to your foam question. If you are talking a "B" foam system I would recommend the use of an eductor. Keep it the compartment and get it when you have that fuel tanker incident. I say this because the fuel tanker incidents are few and far between. Maybe have 2 or 3 eductors with matching nozzles.

    What I strongly recommend is a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS). It uses Class "A" foam and can be used for all incidents that you are presently using plain water for. You inject the foam class “A” at .3% per 100 gallons of water. You don’t use much concentrate. CAFS with Class "A" foam will extinguish and give you vapor suppression on Hydrocarbon fires (gas and oil). In my opinion it would be your best choice. Waterous offers the Eclipse CAFS. Waterous includes with the purchase a training program that has a trainer come to your station and teach your department how to operate, maintain and use you CAFS system correctly. The CAFS system includes a FoamPro electronic direct injection foam pump. It is very accurate and easy to use.

    My department has been using CAFS of over 5 years and with good success.

    Hope this helps.

    Be Safe,

    Captain Lou
    “Got Foam?”

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    We would love to get CAFS, just not in the buget.

    Any others idea's?

    Thanks

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    Hi bjlffire,

    If there is anyway posible to get CAFS in the "budjet" I would. I would put off on another item or two to get it. It is worth the gain just in firefighter safety alone. But, if you can't "budget" for it then at a minimum I would go with a FoamPro proportioner with class "A" foam. It will be an improvement over plain water, not as good as CAFS but it will make the water more effcient.

    Maybe you can put off the purchase for a year to allow for more funding.

    Good luck!

    Captain Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    The benefit versus cost for many small departments does not make cafs a viable option. The reality is simply that.

    Personally we have used class A foam for years and the benefits are tremendous. I agree on the foam pro set-up it is relatively inexpensive and makes your water much more effective and your foam ops darn near idiot proof. At the very least I would go with an A/B foam pro set-up that allows you to choose the foam you need and adjust the percentage for the incident.

    As far as leaving something else off the rig in order to install cafs...don't do it, what you leave off will probably end up being used way more than cafs would have in the long run.

    FyredUp
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    bjlffire

    What I meant by leaving something off or not purchasing it now is some items or tools could be easily added on later. They could be installed in house or at the local dealership. Items such as a light tower, get the generator now and add the light tower later. Maybe leave off the automatic snow chains or intercom system, or hose. All can be installed later. One of the local dealerships that service my rigs installs the CAFS system at their shop once the apparatus is delivered. Considerable savings. The truck is spec out with a foam cell, FoamPro and foam manifold. The dealer installs a PTO CAFS system. The CAFS components could even be installed in a year or two. The PTO system is from Pneumax, which is owned by Waterous. It comes with the same training I mentioned earlier and can be installed on any fire pump. Just make sure there is a PTO port available on the transmission when you spec out the truck.

    I would stay away from a dual tank system. To many potential problems. The biggest problem is if the A and B foams were to accidentally mix together it will become your worst nightmare.

    I say all this because the benefit is worth the cost regardless if it is a small town or not. CAFS is an investment in firefighter safety. Bottom line is if you want it you will find a way to get it.

    Hope it all helps.

    Be safe!

    Captain Lou
    "Got Foam?"
    Last edited by CaptLou; 11-20-2003 at 11:34 AM.

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    Default Another foam question

    If you are looking at a FoamPro system, should it be plumbed to all discharges or just one ? Are there advantages in using a hose-line eductor over a built in system to one line ?
    Thanks for the thoughts and any others that may be pertinent.

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    Thoskin...

    Ours on our new quint at work is plumbed to the three crosslays, 2-1 3/4" and 1-2 1/2" lines.

    As far as Class A and Class B foam being mixed together and creating a mess, that is a training issue. If firefighters are so incompetent that they can't read Class A on the top of the foam tank for Class A and Class B on top of the foam tank for Class B there are serious issues in the department that need to be dealt with.

    CaptLou...

    While I respect your opinion on how well Cafs works for you in my area a major metropolitan fire department has gone totally away from Cafs after a disasterous attempt to implement it for all Class A fire attack. They had problems from day one with it. One of which was the guys hated it. Why? No cooling effect. They said, sure it put the fire out but the temp in the room remained elevated for longer periods of time than with water or Class A foam. Of course that is a subjective viewpoint.

    My honest opinion is simple, if you have the money and you deem it necessary go ahead and buy it. But if money is tight there are many other things I would spend those multiple thousands on before I bought Cafs.

    FyredUp

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    I would also suggest a Foam-Pro with class A only. Our first Foam-Pro was an A/B system. We never had a problem with mixing foams but did have a problem with the B geling up because we never used it. We ended up purchasing future Foam-Pros with A only. We carry the eductor for the B and keep the B sealed in the pails. We plumb the front bumper (1-3/4") 2 crosslays (1-3/4") and a rear 2-1/2". Seems to work well.
    I thought it would be primarily the "bigger" departments that purchased CAFS due to the cost. I have seen several departments with populations under 1500 purchase. They were able to justify the purchase due to the low number of people on the first engine and the time it takes to get the tankers to the scene. They were able to do an effective exterior attack and make their water go further.

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    FyredUp,

    I'm sorry that your department had such a bad experience with CAFS. That was and is why Waterous had developed and gives training with each sale of a system. It sounds like training on how to apply and use the system didn't happen or the chief didn't "require" or "push" for training. My experiences and the testing done with CAFS has resulted in just the opposite affect. I've been on the nozzle many times and the drop in temperature is dramatic and quick.


    thoskin,

    As far as plumbing discharges goes, it depends on the FoamPro pump you spec. The Waterous Eclipse and PTO CAFS use the 2002 model. The chart below shows the maximum water GPM at a given % that each model FoamPro can keep up with. For CAFS you would inject at 0.3% per 100 gallons of water, which on the 2002 model can keep up with a water flow of about 1670 GPM. And for aspirated foam operations you would inject at 0.5% per 100 gallons of water, which would keep up with a water flow of 1000 GPM.

    Foam %------2001 max.gpm---------2002 max. gpm
    0.2%-------------1300-------------------2500
    0.3%-------------870--------------------1670
    0.5%-------------520--------------------1000
    1.0%-------------260--------------------500
    3.0%-------------85---------------------166


    To plumb all discharges would not be to practical. My department plumbed our 2 - 1 3/4" crosslays, 2 - 2 1/2" rear discharges, 1 - 1 3/4" trashline and the deck gun. We know we can not flow all discharges simultaneously. If the fire is that big your going to invite your "friends" to assist you, with their own engine.

    As far as eductors go they are limited to 150' from the eductor, you must pump at 200 psi, the nozzle gpm setting has to match the eductor gpm rating exactly and the elevation of the nozzle above the eductor is limited.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Captain Lou
    "Got Foam"
    Last edited by CaptLou; 11-21-2003 at 09:07 AM.

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    No cooling effect. They said, sure it put the fire out but the temp in the room remained elevated for longer periods of time than with water or Class A foam.
    Isn't ventilation the only real way to cool a room without creating an indoor swimming pool? Wasn't it Phoenix that started the PPV upon entry of the first line after they loaded up with CAFS pumpers? PPV and a hole in the wall will cool a heck of a lot faster than flooding a room with Class A or water will anyway. Less damage, overhaul, time on scene, etc, etc. Been there, done that myself several times at the burn field. So that I can't count as a reason against CAFS. We got our CAFS pumper 3 months ago and we've been training like there's no tomorrow because everyone else is used to TFT Fogs and we have Saberjets on the CAFS pumper. Besides the smooth bore-fog pattern difference that had to be taught. We did put 25 gallon (A) and 65 gallon (B) tanks on the truck, but the recommendation from the manufacturer was run A in both since 97% of the fires most departments go to can be done with A, and the system can draft B out of the bucket if necessary so we still have all 3 1-3/4" lines and the 2-1/2" lines capable of flowing either agent. CAFS makes it easier on engineers since there's no friction loss to calculate, and with the 50psi nozzles we've now got 1 man 1-3/4" lines and 1-2 man 2-1/2" lines. Changing consistency from milky water (attack) to shaving cream (exposures) is as easy as changing the amount of water in the line, i.e. moving the handle in and out. So with one line you can give them shaving cream to cover the exposure, then pull the discharge the rest of the way when they're ready to go interior. With CAFS being 10 times more effective than plain water, and running the truck at the 50psi, we've got the equivalent of 800gpm of water in each 1-3/4" lines flowing 80gpm of CAFS mix and 1500gpm of water in the 2-1/2" flowing 150gpm of CAFS mix. That's why it only took 80 gallons of water to put out a fully involved large SUV. The knockdown power is amazing. And who really cares if it's a little warmer in the room? I'll take the little extra time in the heat if it means the fire is out that much quicker.

    But to see your other side, yes it is expensive. But pitch it to the local government that gives you money and let them know that it's a good part in dropping ISO rating. Texas is so far the only state that has a law that mandates lower homeowner's insurance for areas with departments that run CAFS, so we had an easy time selling the addition. And like CaptLou said, make sure it can be added later when the money does become available.

    Stay safe.

    Brian
    Brian P. Vickers
    www.vickersconsultingservices.com
    Emergency Services Consulting
    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
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    It was not my FD that had the Cafs, it was a much larger city FD.

    I will stand by my previous assertion that if you have the money and you deem it necessary go ahead and buy it. If money is tight their are many other things I would prefer to have on a rig before Cafs.

    As for the fact of not cooling sufficiently, I can tell you I heard that comment from several members of that large department. I also know that the most of the department up to and including the white shirts were totally turned off by their experiment into Cafs. It was on top of everything else a mechanical and maintenance nightmare. As far as training goes, they had the Cafs system manufacturer out to their department and the problems still could not be adequately adressed or corrected.

    If it works for you great. I personally would not spend tight apparatus funds on that option.

    FyredUp

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    Default Innofoam/Fireveil

    Std high $ CAFS with on board compressor is not only way to skin the cat. Innofoam and Fireveil have an interesting piece of equipment that uses air tanks to supply pressure. I have been doing some research for brush/grass truck. Foam skid it around $4500 + water supply and air tank supply. A couple of 5000psi 400ft3 tanks will produce a LOT of foam and can be used to refill SCBA.

    Anyone out there using this equipment?
    www.fireveil.com or www.innofoam.com

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    Yep CAFS does cost some bucks to install. Is it worth the money? Yep. But should you take off something that you will utilize more than CAFS? Nope. Class A works pretty darn good with our foam pro system and so does the Class B we use. Have to agree that if some one pulls the B instead of the A and it some how gets mixed up they should probably not be at the pump in the first place. Our system is set up for 2 lines of 1 3/4, and we can run both foams at the same time or one on each line which will never happen here.

    Point is, Class A foam does work and ya know what it stays in place pretty darn long also. But if you want the CAFSthen find a way to get it. It is faster than A bring the fire under control, but A is faster than water.

    Good topic folks.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!

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    Hey, if you want to look at a plain foam system, you can look at ours not to far from you. We have a Foam Pro 2001 A & B on a truck plumbed to cross lays and deck gun.

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    Where is New Melle, We are just south of Hannibal.
    We still have not decided on a system yet, It will be just a Class A system, Again cafs High $$.

    Thanks to all how have replied.

    Brian

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    I vote for FoamPro also. We have their systems on both of our two engines and they have always worked flawlessly. They are also very easy to use, one button on and off. CAFS is great, but can be expensive. A Vindicator nozzle with class A foam works well together if you cant go with CAFS. Hope this helps.

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    Default Around the Pump

    Sounds like you are a suburban or rural department.

    For simplicity and training, my recommendation would be go to an "Around the Pump" system.

    You can get foam from every outlet (including the deck gun) on the rig up to 1400 gpm at 1% to 3% solution and 700 gpm at 6% solution. Once you plan to use foam technology in every fire situation, you will see how easy it is to use and understand its benefits and limitations.

    The "Around the Pump" system is metered from 1% to 6% solution rates. By using a 3% foam concentrate, you can set the metering valve to 1% and get enough foam in the discharge line to use on Class A fires without over using your Class B foam and get the surfactant qualities you desire. (Yes, you can use Class B foam on Class A fires, jut not the otherway around!)

    Additionally, the system will work on Class A or B foam but I would recommend using a multipurpose polar solvent compatible Class B foam concentrate. Class B foam at 3% for regular hydrocarbons and go all the way at 6% for polar solvents.

    Cost is considerably less than CAFS or other proportioning systems and will do a fine job.

    One foam concentrate, one foam system, one plan of attack.

    Keep it simple and everyday is training day!

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    Fyred Up, I'm pretty sure I know which department you are talking about with the CAFS nightmare issue. There were alot of issues that helped to turn off everyone there to CAFS. First, the way the plumbing was set up, caused problems with actually getting a decent flow out of the system. Because they wanted CAFS out of the three crosslays and the foam capability out of the deck gun, they all had to flow through the same manifold. The diameter of that pipe was only 2 to 2 1/2" if I remember right. So, in order to get a decent flow out of say the 2 1/2" cross lay and both 1 3/4" lines, the pump pressure needed to be taken up to 250 psi plus. That I blame on the manufacturer.
    Secondly, there was a big training issue. They spent money on the engines (I think they had 3 or 4 of em) but didn't budget money for extra foam concentrate to do decent training. Now when you are talking about all those operators in the city that need to learn how to use the CAFS, you need to actually use it, with actual foam concentrate.
    Plus, this expiriment was done at least 5 years ago. The CAFS systems then are nothing compared to what is available now. The manufacturers have learned alot in making the systems more FF friendly too. I wouldn't let that departments experience deter me from getting CAFS. Just make sure there is good training planned, which Waterous/Pneumax seems to have taken care of. Remember, in order for your personnel to remember how to do to it, you'll have to practice it regularly also. Quite a bit at first. Dont expect your FF's to see it once, then remember how to do it a 6 months down the road w/o any practice.

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    The around the pump system sounds great until you factor in the limitations. As was pointed out, all of the discharges have foam. This includes the tank fill valve. Open that and you fill the tank with foam. The other limitation is that these systems will not work under a pressure source. You must supply the pump from the tank, which means that you have to have a separate gated tank fill valve on the truck. This valve must send water directly to the tank. The earlier poster stated that these systems will flow 1400 gpm of foam solution. That is correct only if your tank to pump line(s) can provide that flow. If you can live with these limitations, the around the pump system is hard to beat.
    One thing to watch out for on the FoamPro and some similar systems is that they use an electric motor to pump the foam concentrate. The motors draw anywhere from 30 to 60 amps. Make sure that your chassis has a large enough alternator to provide these amps plus run your warning lights, heater or air conditioner, and any other electrical draw. This can be tricky, especially on a commercial chassis. FoamPro does make a hydraulic driven pump that eliminates this problem, but that is very expensive.

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    And who really cares if it's a little warmer in the room? I'll take the little extra time in the heat if it means the fire is out that much quicker.
    You might care if the lack of cooling allows the gases to flash on you or your men.

    Currently specing a new engine out and I have done a lot of research on CAFS. I am not looking to debate it's usefulness. What I will say is you need to look at your Dept. and how you fight fire. That is the most important part of the decision. If you read the many reports from large and small department that have tested CAF you will see that aggressive interior attacking department did not like the system. One of the major complaints was the lack of cooling. One report attributed FF deaths to flashovers occurring due to the lack of cooling. Other reports from less aggressive Department state how it has been wonderful. CAFS has it place, but before you invest in a system see if your Dept can safely use it and is prepared to train with it.

    Interesting side note, while doing our research we cam across a portable CAFS system. It is simply a landscaper’s backpack blower with a special eductor nozzle. Great for exposures and grass or brush fires. Check it out: [URL http://www.firematic.com/portacafs.htm[/URL]
    B Holmes

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    Hi all again,

    Have to comment on bkholmes statement regarding the cooling effect of CAFS. My department has been using CAFS since 1998. I have personally been on the nozzle and on the attack team of many interior, aggressive fire attacks. My experience has been consistently different than yours, regarding the lack of cooling with CAFS. When applied correctly and with a flow of between 90 and 120 GPM from a straight bore 15/16" tip, the cooling has been quick and knockdown rapid. This is provided, as with any fire attack you quickly get to the seat of the fire. The temperature drop is very rapid and the atmosphere becomes more comfortable much quicker, as compared to a plain water attack. The odds of a flashover occurring are greatly reduced with the use of CAFS.

    Whether you use plain water or CAFS the key is to train and to be educated on tactics and fire behavior. Training, training and more training coupled with experience is the only way to reduce the odds of a tragedy happening on the fire ground.

    CAFS is not a ”magic potion”. Many firefighters have been injured and killed over the years when not “reading” the fire correctly and not using good, sound tactics. CAFS does however make this job of firefighting a bit safer. It makes the water more efficient. This is based on my experiences and results of using and training with CAFS over the years.

    Be Safe!

    Capt. Lou
    "Got Foam?"

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    Capt. Lou,

    As I stated I am not looking to debate the usefulness, all I am saying is that it is a decision that should be based on your own district and the type of firefighting you do. I think it is great that your department trains, likes and uses CAFS. As to your feeling that it cools gases as well or better than water, that is not correct. Physics proves that it does not cool gases. Read the article below (You may have read it already, I know from your posts you are knowledgable about foam) it will explain the science. It will also share the Boston study with those interested in CAFS. I feel the Boston study was well done and an honest assesment of CAFS, BUT it is an assesment of CAFS for the Boston FD. The same can not be said for every department. I am not trying to talk anyone out of a CAFS system, just want them to think about and understand CAFS before they decide. For many different reasons it is not for everyone.
    IF anyone is interested I can explain why we decided against it. Email me or IM me.
    Stay Safe!!

    http://www.firetactics.com/CAFS.htm[/URL]
    B Holmes

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    CAFS has been very good for our rural FD. With minimal staffing, and a long way to water, sometimes 20/30 miles, it allows us to control most fires with our CAFS unit and one tanker. We don't have high rises, multiple occupancy dwellings, or many of the other problems others face. We run the CAFS on everything, until we can find something better all our equipment will be CAFS. Of course, Your Results May Vary.

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    flmslayr2...

    I suspect you may be right in your assessment. My info is from personally viewing the difficulties that occurred during training at the academy and from anecdotal stories from firefighters on the line.

    I also agree that technology has made Quantum leaps (Pun definitely intended) since that era. Just a question for you though...Do any of the latest batch of engines and/or quints have cafs? Or Class A or B foam systems?

    Take care my friend,

    FyredUp

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