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    Default Cars fires: do you use class A foam?

    What do you do with car fires? We do not have direct injected AFFF on our trucks, we need to hook-up a Pro-Pack or an inline foam eductor to get AFFF. Recently, some of the guys have been using Class A at a fairly high concentration and getting a good knock. I guess I do not see a problem with this as long as they are setting up to have AFFF ready if things go south in terms of the fuel onboard. Any comments?

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    We have direct injection of class A, and AFFF. If I remember right, we have 30 gallons each. We use the class A for pretty much everything, dumpsters, car fires, structures etc. With our old motor we had a pro-pak, and rarely used it. Now that we have it onboard, we use it a lot. It does get a little old having to flush the lines and manifold, but it's not bad.
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    Unless there is something going seriously wrong, water does a great job of putting out the fire. Especially on something as useless as a car fire or a dumpster fire, these fires are not going anywhere, and are not worth spending the money on. They're both just trash fires. Why spend the money and waste the effort of using foam on what are essentially confined trash fires??

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    We use Class A foam on all our fires, partly because there is a shelf life to the stuff, partly because it gets the eductor used, and partly because our entire district is bordered by trees. We dont get more than maybe one structure fire every two or three years, so ya we use it when ever we have a fire. Including brush fires.

    And 33, I agree flushing out does get to be a bore after a while.
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    I have the same mindset as FortFF on using agents on auto fires but if we have a stubborn fuel fire associated with the vehicle, sometimes we just pour the AFFF on the ground and hit it with a 60 dergee pattern and get a quick knockdown.Works great and there is nothing to backflush or clean but only for small incidents.

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    Ditto FortFF. Water works fine, no sense getting fancy. People are always trying to reinvent the wheel.

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    Why spend the money and waste the effort of using foam on what are essentially confined trash fires??

    -- We spend more per-fire in things like insurance, fuel & depreciation on the apparatus than foam.
    -- A couple of the members who responded will spend more on soda & candy bars from the vending machine at the station afterwards, too. Not that it makes any difference...just putting the cost in perspective.
    -- Exercises the foam system
    -- Lets us rotate the stock a bit faster
    -- Keeps our lines charged with foam (we use 1.5" for essentially a big booster line)
    -- Little lazy sometimes. If we can extinguish & overhaul a car fire on 50 or 100 gallons at zero-dark-thirty, we use a garden hose at the station to top off the tank. If we use 300 or 400 gallons, and we've had inexperienced crews hit the 700 gallon mark (cringe), we've got to go hit a hydrant.

    Don't bother with "high concentration" -- the typical 3/10ths percent is fine.

    AFFF is only going to assist you if you have a flat surface for the film to form and seal around object pentrating the fuel. Airport tamarks with jet fuel spreading over them, great application. Car fire on the grass shoulder, it's just the same as any other mechanical foam. Use Class A for less -- still get the surfacant effect to soak into cushions & contents, get the blanket to put a break between fuel & 02 until things cool down.

    We keep our Class A tank fuel, the Class B tank empty. The AFFF is still in the factory-sealed cans up top to be poured in if necessary -- cleaning it out of the B tank after air gets to it for a couple years ain't pretty. As far as I can, we'll never buy another pail of it -- we don't carry enough and area departments collectively don't carry enough for the once-in-a-lifetime event that may call for it. In that case, we and neighbors have enough foam to make a pretty good Class A mechanical foam blanket, and I suppose eventually one of the state cache trailers with like 600 gallons of 1% AFFF could show up.
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    Default Re: Cars fires: do you use class A foam?

    Originally posted by toddman
    What do you do with car fires? We do not have direct injected AFFF on our trucks, we need to hook-up a Pro-Pack or an inline foam eductor to get AFFF. Recently, some of the guys have been using Class A at a fairly high concentration and getting a good knock. I guess I do not see a problem with this as long as they are setting up to have AFFF ready if things go south in terms of the fuel onboard. Any comments?
    We use Plain Water at a Fairly High Concentration, Routed thru a 1.5 line. Fire goes out, quickly.
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    The AFFF is still in the factory-sealed cans up top to be poured in if necessary -- cleaning it out of the B tank after air gets to it for a couple years ain't pretty.
    For those who have never been assigned this task, I can't even begin to echo how true this is. It was the most vile and disgusting experience of my life. Granted, I live a pretty sheltered life! But still...
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    Just plain old water here......... Usually takes care of it pretty quickly.........

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    We use water to attack the fire and then after knockdown we use Class A foam (via Propack) to finish the job . We just like the way foam seeps into whats left of the seats, etc and makes overhaul a snap.

    Just my thoughts.

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    Default Re: Re: Cars fires: do you use class A foam?

    Originally posted by hwoods
    Plain Water at a Fairly High Concentration

    That's a rather interesting way of putting it... in other words...water that isn't watered down...

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    We use Class A via CAFS and it works well...nice quick knockdowns and not a whole lot of H20 used...
    Once again....the above views are my own and not that of my department. (And probably should not be construed as having any real meaning, whatsoever!)

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    Lots of Class A foam used around here. All of our brush trucks are set up for it as well as our pumper.

    No AFFF, we just use Class A in high concentraition for similar applications.

    Our best foam unit is a wildland heavy with a CAFS system. The 1.5 inch line off of that unit is my prefered weapon for all fires. You can fill a car cabin up to the roof in less then a minute.

    Foam is cheap, we drink more Gatoraid and burn more gas then we spend on foam at any given fire.

    We have marignal rural water supply. There arent any hydrants along the big streatches of highway we cover or on the open range.

    Faom is supposed to be 2x more effective then water, so in effect you make your 400 gallon brush truck into an 800 gallon brush tuck, that is in extingquishing power.

    Now you add CAFS, which is supposed to be 2x more effective then faom. Now you have 1600 gallon equivilent of water in extingquishment power. That helps a lot when there is no back up water supply.

    Who came up whith the number I cant tell you, but it seems pretty close.
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    We have Class A onboard and our #1 pre-connect line is the foam line... so, my shift always pulls that line for car fires, etc. just in case we need the foam. Yet, H20 seems to do a pretty good job by itself.

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    Especially on something as useless as a car fire or a dumpster fire, these fires are not going anywhere, and are not worth spending the money on. They're both just trash fires. Why spend the money and waste the effort of using foam on what are essentially confined trash fires??
    First off, I agree water works just fine. However, when the Lt. says that we will use class A foam on all fires, you do it.

    As for the car fires in my district, I can only think of a few that were accidental. Most are set using gasoline, after they have been stripped of a few things the thieves wanted. Using the class A just makes em seem to go out a lot quicker. The dumpsters are pretty much the same... except I don't believe that I have made one accidental one yet. It is very common for the kids in the area to light em up on a regular basis. It is also very common for us to pull up and see 3 or 4 that are going in one housing complex... or to see one going on the way to another, or to have someone pull up, as we are putting one out, and tell us of another down the street. So, we use class A on em to limit the amount of water we need to get em out, so we can get on to the next one. We also make it a regular habit of wetting down dumpsters that are not burning in "known" areas, after we put one out. This way we hopefully can get some sleep that night without having to go back to the same area. If it sounds bad... it's better than the old days when the kids that lit em, used to throw rocks at the guys when they were putting em out.

    So, that's why we "spend the money, and waste the effort" and use the class A.
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    Originally posted by FORTff
    Unless there is something going seriously wrong, water does a great job of putting out the fire. Especially on something as useless as a car fire or a dumpster fire, these fires are not going anywhere, and are not worth spending the money on. They're both just trash fires. Why spend the money and waste the effort of using foam on what are essentially confined trash fires??
    Yes it does, but if you have the tools to potentially make water more 'efficient' why not use it? We cover 20 miles of interstate highway on which traffic never slows in speed (even when they are staring at you on the side of the road vs watching whats in front of them) The problems with that, no sustained water source other that a tanker shuttle and if water mixed with Class A can get you off the highway and back in quarters 5 minutes quicker, than that is 5 less minutes my guys are exposed to becoming a potential speed bump! We carry 40 of A and 40 of B on board dispersed to 2 1 3/4 crosslays and 1 booster reel through a FoamPro system and I will spend the money on replenishing the Class A any day under those circumstances to keeping it that way. Not saying you have to go out and spend money to equip yourself like we are, but on the other hand we are fortunate enough to have it at our fingertips so we use it.

    Also, similar to what 33motor stated, dumpsters aren't generally accidental. They are torched or in the case of one a couple towns over, a product of 2 chemicals that were 'thrown away' and combined to be rather combustible. In addition to the arson point of view, you also don't have any idea what is in a dumpster or in a vehicle. Is the driver Joe Homeowner who stopped to refill his 5 gallon gas can for the lawnmower on the way home and it's in the back seat? (not saying it should be, but we all know people aren't necessarily smart).

    As for the flushing the lines thing, we don't do it for Class A. Manufacturer said you don't have to and by not doing it you get foam at the tip alot quicker. Class B on the other hand, you better be flushing that one or you will only use your system once until it gets clogged up when the stuff solidifies.

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    FFtrainer, that is an interesting comment about not flushing Class A lines. Our mechanic from Profire, in Abbotsford has recommended that we flush after every use. And in the recent past we have had some difficulty with foam flow because of partially blocked eductors.

    Once the lines were flushed for about 10 mins, then foam was flowing very well, so now we make sure to flush after every use, and usually again the next day, or a few days later just to give a double check.

    As for using foam on all our fires, we are as I stated either here or in another thread.... a HYDRANT FREE ZONE which always has its quirks and challenges.

    Something that just crossed my mind is the idea of batch mixing our water that is stored in the Tanker - 3000gal tank. Just a thought of course. Any thoughts or comments there?
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 06-29-2004 at 12:11 PM.
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    Yes. We use Class A foam on car fires.
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    We don't flush our Class A lines.
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    1. Reduces water use. Most of our vehicle fires are torch jobs on back roads, no hydrants anywhere around. For those itching to jump on that statement, we don't need it to put out the fire. We do, however (occasionally), roll on another fire without having to stop for water. 150 gallons vs. 400 or so without foam.

    2. Overahaul. Ever had something rekindle after putting A foam on it? I haven't (knock on wood).

    3. Keeps the eductors working properly. No, we don't flush, either. A foam is basically a detergent, and I haven't seen it gum up unless somebody pours B foam in with it (happened more than once).

    200 gallons of mixture at .5% (some use less) is about a gallon. Less than 10 bucks.

    On trucks without foam systems, we pour it in the tank.

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    Originally posted by MalahatTwo7
    Something that just crossed my mind is the idea of batch mixing our water that is stored in the Tanker - 3000gal tank. Just a thought of course. Any thoughts or comments there?
    Back "in the day" we batch mixed our old pumper (Truck 1) a few times; 1000 gallons on board, so dropping a 10 gallon pail in would supposedly give us that 1% mixture. It worked, but wasn't as effective as the eductor system we have on Engine 1 now. Although, it would allow more foam lines than the one we are limited to now. Also, we had to run the pump for what seemed like forever to clean it out. If you think flushing the one line and eductor is a bit of a hassle, try flushing the entire truck (tank and pump). Having a partially blocked inductor isn't fun, and neither is having the all the valves and the pump gummed up..... we've done it twice that I can recall. We also carry two in-line eductors that can be set up fairly quickly when needed.

    Having done my share of time on the nozzle of an attack line, I tend to lean towards having the foam in my line, regardless of what is burning. As Two-7 said, not having any hydrants changes the way that we play the game. In fact, our neighbouring department to the North (Mill Bay) refer to us as the "Kings of Drafting" because we have become quite adept at pulling water from anywhere we can find it.

    We actually have two foam systems. An Akron system on the Engine and a Scotty all-around-the-pump system on the Bush Truck. Both of them put out good foam when working. However, the Scotty system doesn't require the 200psi operating pressure the Akron system needs, which makes the line a little easier to maneuver.

    Since he got back from the BC Fire Chiefs Conference a few weeks, Scott (the chief), has been talking about getting a "retro" kit to replace the Akron system on the Engine with a CAFs system. I have seen some interesting studies done on various CAFs systems but I have never personally played with one (except for this interesting demo unit I was able to play with a few months ago where they used and special attachment and some SCBA bottles to turn a portable pump into a portable-CAFs unit).

    Anytime you make the water go further is worth it.
    Last edited by firefighter26; 06-29-2004 at 04:49 PM.
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    Flush the eductor, not the whole hand line.
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    Hey Bones, its tough to flush the eductor when it is contained inside the workings of the truck And I am not about to be the guy standing at the panel if some one were to try to flush the eductor without a line attached.

    Our foam line is a top bed cross lay, with the hard point for the line connection in the base of the hose bed, about midway on the truck centre line.
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