1. #1
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    Default Use Cafs For Free?

    I need some input to an idea about providing a high volume CAFS unit to a County Emergency Support Service.

    I am considering loaning or donating an almost new Sullair CAFS unit that was used for Navy field tests for warfare decontamination applications.

    I have discussed this idea with the county support services chief and he believes the unit can be sent, as a mutual aid unit, free of charge, to any fire department that asks for it. The unit has enough output for two full capacity CAFS foam discharges (500+ gpm each hose) and takes water input from any pumper that can supply a 1.5 hose flowing 100 gpm at 120 psi.

    He is considering charging the insurance companies for the cost to operate the unit, including the foaming agents and asbestos encapsulation additives if requested or required. There would be no costs to the fire department that called for the unit and it would be manned by the requesting department if they are trained with CAFS applications.

    I hope the members of the forum will post comments if this is a good or bad idea, and please help us form a better plan if you have any ideas.
    Mark Cummins

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    Is this just the pump? I can see where it would come in handy during the summer grass fire season in Texas (which lasts 12 months a year).
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    Originally posted by RyanEMVFD
    Is this just the pump?
    Thanks for the question.
    This CAFS is a bit different from any of the other CAFS designs. It is a dependable, industrial Sullair compressor built as a trailer and includes a small pneumatic concentrate pump to inject the foaming agents and has a built in 35 gallon concentrate poly tank. You have to connect a small water source from another fire truck or even a brush truck to supply the water to this unit. The unit does everything you need for two full capacity foam discharges.

    This unit was created as an economical, simple to use, CAFS unit that doesnít require any modifications to your fire trucks. Just connect water to it and get an absolutely dependable CAFS operation with just one button to push to start the diesel engine and then pull hose to the fire.

    I think this unit would work well for structure protection at the larger grass fires but it's way overkill for the vegitation fires.
    Mark Cummins

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    cfire3, my County has something similar in that there is a trailer full of foam barrells that is available to anyone in the county as needed. Not CAFS, just plain foam barrells. I think they set this up around 7 or 8 years ago, but I can only think of 1 time that I heard it was used. Part of the reason being, for my area, it will be a minimum of 1 hour for it to arrive, partly due to traffic, it's not "manned" 24 hours a day, and simply travel time. I would assume, for a large enough incident, that 1 hour time may not really matter.

    Biggest challenge I see to it (and that may not be a big one) is that to be proficient with CAFS systems and CAFS fire attack methods, isn't there regular training/drilling involved? With the one unit available for the county, would it be feasible for it to travel to enough places often enough to be workable? Is working a CAFS handline for 2 hours every 2 months and straight water handlines 20 hours each month going to let the guys be able to use CAFS effectively when they need it?

    All in all, the situation would be better than not having one available at all.
    "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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    Do you have any pictures or diagrams of this unit. I have been thinking about trying to utilize our city's large trailer type air compressor to put together a cafs system that could be deployed for larger fires. Most of my questions surround how to mix the water, agent and air. Any suggestions would be great.

    Thanks!

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    Bones42, thanks for your input. You have addressed the types of problems we are most concerned with and are looking for ways to solve. I think you are right about the proficiency that might cause problems with bringing a CAFS to a department that hasnít trained with it, but thatís exactly the problem some of the departments are facing when they buy their first new CAFS equipped Pumper.

    I know the manufacturers are providing the best training they can, but frankly, Iíve seen some of the training material and know several of the trainers and itís very disturbing to know that a new technology is suffering from a lack of experience and interest in improving the tactics and use of the equipment they are building.

    So far, W.S. Darley has put the best effort into quality training. They were the first large company to build an integrated CAFS class A Engine and I have seen their demonstrations and training programs for their CAFS. I have heard that their market manager is trying to establish a generic CAFS course to present to the fire schools and I believe that is a great idea. Hopefully they will cause a competition between the manufacturers to establish better programs for their own equipment.

    The Emergency Support Service is considering the idea of offering CAFS training to all of the fire departments in this county using this CAFS pumper trailer unit. The best part of this configuration is that we donít have to teach pump operations. The fire department uses their familiar fire trucks and makes the one connection to the CAFS unit and only has to flow 50 to 100 gpm at 120 psi through one hose. Heck! Even the engineers on my fire department can do that right. We already have short length of hard hose before the nozzle to prevent kinking by nozzleman in close quarters so we can concentrate on teaching CAFS tactics more than equipment management.

    We are hoping this Emergency Support Service program can lead into other applications that are not desirable for each fire department to equip and maintain, such as special Homeland Security applications. We are working on a DARPA Threat Agent Cloud Countermeasure proposal to use a Super CAFS system to knock down radio active dust clouds caused by the dreaded ďDirty BombĒ Tests show that the long range foam system scrubs the air clean as it falls and then the precipitation agent in the foam sticks the radioactive particles to the ground to keep it from spreading with the wind. The foam can carry chemical markers for easy cleanup by protected teams.

    This also works on the smoke at structure and industrial fires that carries toxic matter downwind.

    Please keep thinking about better ways to apply the new technology, we need all the help we can get.
    Mark Cummins

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    Originally posted by toddman
    Do you have any pictures or diagrams of this unit. I have been thinking about trying to utilize our city's large trailer type air compressor to put together a cafs system that could be deployed for larger fires. Most of my questions surround how to mix the water, agent and air. Any suggestions would be great.

    Thanks!
    Great idea! The whole idea of not having to modify either a fire truck OR an industrial compressor to make a CAFS is a good idea.

    The primary ingredients to create a big CAFS unit is any pump that pumps a little water and an air pump that pumps a lot of air. Add to that a small container for some liquid soap and a way to get the soap into the water. Screw the outlets of the pumps together and connect a fire hose, then let the friction inside the hose do the rest.

    I donít mean to sound stupid, but CAFS really is that simple, so donít hesitate to consider using your cityís air compressor to power a good CAFS application.


    You can regulate the volume of water into a tee with a ball valve and please regulate the water instead of trying to regulate the air with a valve. When you fill a hose with a certain amount of water there will be only a little space left for the air so there is no need for complex air volume control systems. The air compressor comes from the factory set at 120 psi, leave it alone, thatís plenty of pressure for even the longest hose lay with CAFS including 1000 ft. up the stairs of a high rise or standpipe system. CAFS works wonders coming out of a sprinkler system.

    Use check valves on the water, air, and concentrate so that travel is one way only. (out).

    I hope this is enough information to get you started.
    Mark Cummins

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    Does your county have an existing "fee for service" program? And does it work/do you collect? IE pumper $x/hr, firefighter $x/hr, $X for supplies used etc. I know some dept/counties have such but getting paid may be an issue. And getting an insurance co to pay even harder.

    As we emailed some time back, I'm looking at how we can use our jumbo cascade system to supply the air for CAFS. Air supply for CAFS does not have to be an expensive on board screw compressor. Can be air tanks or outside pump/source. Cfire3 is the expert here not I.

    You can make a LOT of foam with a few large cascade tanks. You need water, foam, and air and a mixing device. That does not have to = $45000 invoice from Waterous/Darley/etc.

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    Originally posted by neiowa
    Does your county have an existing "fee for service" ,,,,,,

    You can make a LOT of foam with a few large cascade tanks.

    Neiowa, Yep! you are right about the cascade system makes a good air supply for CAFS. Just regulate it down to 120 and use an extra check valve just for safety. Also be SURE to use a good safety relief valve. I have used the hot water heater safety valves because they are way higher rated than needed and they are very NOT expensive.

    One 300cf. cylinder will generate 2,000 gallons of CAFS foam and operate a 1.75 hose continuously for 2 minutes at 1,000gpm.

    Our Fire Department has used a fire billing service for several years and has received very good results with collections from the insurance companies. We have even received surprisingly high payments from the State when we ask for onscene approval from the Department of Public Service to use our CAFS to reduce pollution caused by excessive water run-off at structure fires.
    Mark Cummins

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    We have been billing insurance companys for foam for years, as well as for haz-mat supplies, absorbant and re-hab supplies. I think its a great idea.
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    I have heard that their market manager is trying to establish a generic CAFS course to present to the fire schools and I believe that is a great idea.
    I concur.
    "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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    Hale lists on their web site a 1/2 day CAFS training class as addon to their pump course. 3hours seems rather minimal.

    http://www.haleproducts.com/customerservice/training/

    To bad they don't take this pump course on the road.

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    Originally posted by neiowa

    To bad they don't take this pump course on the road.
    hmmm,,,, just my opinion but I don't think it would be wise for Hale to show too many potential customers how complicated the hydro-pneumatic control system and the split shaft transmission is and try to tell them that a 3 hour course will be much help except to know when it needs to go back to the shop for adjustments. Compressor maintenance is a whole school in itself. This was one of the reasons I quit building the complex trucks, trying to match compressors with water pump systems, and began using only the separate systems that are well engineered and commercialy proven units.
    Mark Cummins

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