1. #1
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    Question High Pressure Fog

    Has anyone lately purchased or used a new High-Pressure fog system? What do you think? Please exclude old Bean units.

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    isnt Rosenbauer doing something with this ? I cant recall exactly..
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    Yes, the Ultra High Pressure System. Looks effective enough for car and brush fires, things like that. I do not see it as an interior attack line. It is one more tool for the big red tool box.

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    We've got what can best be described as an urban interface rig coming with Rosenbauer's high pressure pump due this September. It won't be a Timberwolf, but similar and modified to fit our needs. Rosenbauer also has an ultra-high pressure unit for skid type units that is smaller and mounted on your typical 1-ton pickup. I think the Air Force uses these on ramp trucks/quick attack type units.

    We thought long and hard about the Rosenbauer pump, and thought it was worth the "risk". I've always been a big advocate of trying new things, but have had no luck with getting things like the CAFS concept recognized at my department, so to me - the fact that with some class A foam injected - this high pressure pump can produce "a CAFS like foam," the concept was appealing. I know that we won't have the same abilities of a true CAFS system, but I also like that we're introducing the use of Class A foam into our toolbox, and perhaps that concept will grow into something more.

    Our unit will use the high pressure side for primarily field work, car fires, exposure protection (foam blanket, we should be able to produce a foam that will coat and cling to surfaces from what I've been told) and overhaul. It was a fairly easy sell for us as the high pressure stage of the pump is already there on the Rosenbauer pump, so basically we paid only for extra plumbing, a single booster reel, and the foam proportioner. I don't think it added a whole lot to the overall cost of the apparatus.

    Like anything new in the fire service, many folks will try and tell us we're nuts to use high pressure. We don't plan on using it as an attack line on a structure fire, so we're not risking anyone using it. We have enough discipline that nobody will be stupid enough to think that they can drag a booster line into a building and get away with it. Heck - the chassis (a 4x4 4-door IH) for the unit has been sitting in one of our stations for a month or so now waiting to go to the plant, and the comments on that so far tell me we've got dozens of apparatus experts on the department that for some reason, didn't feel like offering their opinions during the 15 months of apparatus committee meetings where we wrote specifications for the thing. Our apparatus deign process, while having a core group dedicated to doing things right, always welcomes anyone to our meetings to get feedback and ideas. Everyone has something to contribute, if they show up.

    Give me six months, and I'll let you know how I feel about high pressure. If we don't like it, or if its overrated, then we have a 1000 gpm pump with a few extra impellers and some plumbing that doesn't get used. Something tells me though that it'll be a useful tool to add to our toolbox.

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    Default it aint new!

    Like anything new in the fire service, many folks will try and tell us we're nuts to use high pressure.
    I hate to tell you this, but high pressure fog isn't a new concept in the fire service- John Bean units (what captainS mentioned in the first post) were popular units back in the 50's-70's, mostly on FMC-built trucks. It didnt work back then, probably wont work now!

    Call me old school, but I am still a devout subscriber to the theory that fire is extinguished when introduced to the rapid, efficient application of GPM's of water!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    You know - I looked at my comments yesterday after posting them and figured that someone would bring up high pressure pumps having seen their peak in popularity many moons ago. Heck, our first rig still sitting here for memory's sake was a Bean high pressure unit.

    So....how about we say that the idea of the foam injected into a high pressure stream is "new to us."

    Crosslays will still be 1-3/4 with smooth bores, and the piece will carry 2-1/2 lines with smoothbores as well. I still think the foam and high pressure combo will be something we can use in specific situations to our advantage.

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    It didnt work back then, probably wont work now!
    We put out a lot of fires with our John Bean back then.
    "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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    Lightbulb High Pressure Fog and Compressed Air Foam Systems

    We too have been batting the high pressure fog and CAFS ideas around our small-budget department trying to find a way to get more bang for the buck. I found the article below particularly useful in sorting through information: http://www.firetactics.com/CAFS.htm

    In short - and help me out here brothers because there is a lot to sift through - CAFS is good for an attack where the fire is not in a confined space and blowback is not a big risk. It lets you hit the fire from a greater distance and get more mileage out of your water supply. High pressure fog is very popular amongst European agencies and has somewhat better success in cooling hot gasses. It seems that neither system works better on a concealed fire where one might be lofting water into a cockloft or other deadspace. What I didn't see written about was if additional steam was more readily generated by the high pressure system. While I understand that the principle behind high pressure systems is to generate smaller water particles, I am concerned about steam burns. I seem to recall that our European brothers use protective gear that betters seals around their necks than our typical nomex hood, collar, and helmet flap arrangement preventing steam burns.

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    I suspect the steam issue is a real concern with high pressure, especially for any unprotected victims that may still be in the structure. While their survivability may be questionable anyway, generate enough steam and we'll cook 'em to boot.

    We will never use the high pressure end of the pump on interior ops, except I would say for perhaps some stubborn overhaul issues where the application of a high pressure foam stream may be of some benefit. I still think exposure protection, wildland, dumpster and auto fires will be where the foam line and the type of foam the high pressure will produce will be helpful.

    I know of no one around here with a CAFS system, and the closest big city that used it (Madison, WI) talks about their experiences with CAFS with such contempt, that many departments from the area think CAFS is useless. My understanding is that Madison's problems stem from mechanical and design issues, but either way, the damage has been done.

    Then again - we in the Midwest always seem to wait until both coasts have it figured out before we'll try something...

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    Keep researching and reading on the firetactics website. You will see there is little evidence of actually steam burning anyone. Reason being they are using so little water it does not steam and entire room much like using a wide fog pattern on a normal nozzle. Also keep in mind, there are very distinct differences in construction in the US vs Europe.
    "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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    Are we talking steam burns from CAFS or from high pressure fog?

    If we're talking regular fog, I've got about 20 recruits from a myth vs. reality session last week at the burn tower that will say otherwise about steam production... Is HIGH pressure fog that much different?

    I need to read up on that site.

    Regardless of steam production, the high pressure will only be piped to a booster line, so we have NO desire to drag that as our initial attack line. Maybe the theory on how to best attack a free burning fire in a compartment/structure will change, but I don't see us giving up the smoothbore as a department for a very looooong time.

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    We have a fairly new brush truck with a Mertz Firecracker skid unit. It operates at 550 psi, works very well with foam on brush fires.

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    Hello All,

    I have experience with both high pressure (HP) and CAFS. I would put it at about 10% HP and 90% CAFS. My department purchased their 1st of 2 High Pressure engines in 1960 and again in 1968. Both apparatus are long gone. We stopped using the HP in the early 1970's. The problem as I recall was the steam burns that were occurring. I can only conclude that there was simply not enough GPM flow to start the cooling. The HP nozzles were very low GPM. Under 40 GPM. If it is the same concept but with class A foam, I can't see it working as GPM is still going to be low. From what I've read and from the "stories" that the elders in my department have told about HP, It didn't work unless the conditions for extinguishment were close to perfect.

    With CAFS, we flow the GPM required to meet or exceed critical application rate necessary to extinguish the fire. Water is what is cooling and extinguishing the fire. The class "A" foam reduces surface tension to allow the water applied to absorb faster, it makes the water more efficient.

    I don't see an advantage and/or use of HP water or foam in the US fire service. HP came here along time ago and since it didn't work then, I don't see it working now. CAFS does work and will be here for many years to come.

    Be Safe,

    Captain Lou
    "GOT FOAM?"

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    Once again - Rosenbauer's High pressure isn't the same as the old Beans. A 1 inch handline will flow about 100 gpm. Not enough for an interior attack to make me confortable, but truthfully - how many of you guys are using a 1-1/2 line as a trash line with a fog nozzle? We are, and we aren't flowing much more than 100 gpm out of it as far as I can tell.

    Maybe my math is flawed...

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    Question Hmm - more info needed

    In reading the responses so far, the question of steam burns for HP fog is a bit up in the air, though the low flow rate does bring the myth a bit into question. I'll dig around for info about that.

    As for the CAFS - I have a couple more questions:

    1. Do you really get increased water use efficiency (one gallon of water through CAFS works like 10 without). I've read the hype, now what are your real experiences?

    2. Proportionally, do the number of fires at which you can use CAFS justify the expense both in terms of the equipment cost and in terms of loss stop? Put it another way - while you may have put the fire out faster, was the object on fire truly "saved" (what did the insurance company say/pay) and fire spread contained any better than if the job had been done with straight water?

    Thanks!

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    Hi easystreets,

    1. "Do you really get increased water use efficiency (one gallon of water through CAFS works like 10 without). I've read the hype, now what are your real experiences?"

    My experience would have me say the increase in efficiency is more like 3 times. So a 700 gallon booster tank on an Engine without CAFS would be about 2100 gallons on an engine with CAFS. To me this is not "hype" but real world. 3 times better has proven to be a tremendous advantage for my department.

    "2. Proportionally, do the number of fires at which you can use CAFS justify the expense both in terms of the equipment cost and in terms of loss stop? Put it another way - while you may have put the fire out faster, was the object on fire truly "saved" (what did the insurance company say/pay) and fire spread contained any better than if the job had been done with straight water?"

    My department uses CAFS on all fires that we used to us plain water on prior to getting our CAFS unit in 1998. Having said that and having used nothing but water for 20 years prior to getting CAFS, the knockdown, cooling and total fire loss have all been noticeably impacted by the use of CAFS. ALL IN A VERY POSITIVE WAY. Knockdown and cooling are much faster. Again, we are flowing at a GPM rate that is required to extinguish the fire. The bubbles in a CAFS attack line are about 1/3 the size (smaller) than a drop of water that is produced by a conventional fog nozzle. And there are millions of them. This is part of the reason that knockdown and cooling happen much quicker. Couple that with the "surfactant" advantage of class "A" foam and you have tremendous fire attack system.

    Compared to a plain water attack my experience so far has been that once we get our CAFS line in operation the fire hasn't gotten much bigger, if at all bigger. The water damage is much, much less compared to a water only attack. Now don't be misled that CAFS is a "magical" mixture that puts the fire out all by itself. It still requires that a good aggressive interior attack take place in conjunction with all other aspects of the extinguishment process. Such as ventilation, getting to seat of the fire and overhaul. This is "just another tool" in the tool box, but if you do not use it correctly it will not work or work very poorly. You can have the best tile saw in the world, but if try and cut a piece of wood with it, it doesn’t work.

    Bottom line is CAFS works and works much better than plain water. I would look at CAFS as an investment in firefighter safety and not as an added expense to a truck. CAFS is worth it.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Captain Lou
    "GOTFOAM?"

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    Talking Thanks

    CPT Lou -

    Thanks for your response - most helpful and appreciated!

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    I am probably going to regret bringing this up but here goes. We currently us a Darley LDM pump with a High Pressure Module plumbed to the reel lines. We use Task Force 100 psi Nozzles so we really do not have high pressure since the nozzle pressure is less than 100 but we call it high pressure because the pump pressure is 600 psi. At 600 psi we are getting about 100gpm on 1 line and 90 gpm per line when both of the reel lines are operating. I know the arguments about GPM and required fire flows and this set up is not for all interior fires. Although when you have a single room and contents fire with a area less than about 200 square feet the reel lines work great. Using the NFA fire flow formula using the 200 sq ft divided by 3 shows a required fire flow of 66 gpm. Our experience has shown that the flow is adequate and manuverability with a reel line is much greater than a 1 3/4 line. The reel line is a one man line allowing for the other man to be doing other things other than humping hose. There are draw backs and the inability to increase flow above 100 gpm is just one but it does have it's place. A carpenter does not have only one hammer for all jobs. A 16 oz hammer will not break concrete very well and a sledge hammer is not my first choice for driving a finish nail. This set up is just another tool in our tool box to choose from. A high pressure reel line should not be used when the fire is in the attic or vented and in a free burning condition but the smaller confined fires we see in a room and contents fire such as a bedroom or bathroom are appropriate. So as for CAFS I have no personnel experience but I do like our set up. It is not for everything but is does anything work all the time.
    Last edited by htfd262; 06-20-2005 at 12:00 AM.

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    i have had bad experiences with high psi fog.

    i do not like hp fog on grass and brush fires, but i have never used a cafs so i cannot comment on this aspect.

    hp fog for room and contents fires,what is the contents of the room? a very bad concept, could get a person hurt, if the fire is bigger than they believe(has anyone ever found more fire than they thougt was their?).

    hp fog leaves no room for error on any type of fire that is bigger than a candle. I want to have the ability to flow large amounts of water when i need to. litle fire small water, big fire big water, let the person on the tip decide how much and where.

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