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  1. #1
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    Default Compressed Air Foam

    Are fire depts not using CAFS (compressed Air Foam System) due to job security?


  2. #2
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    Default

    No...were not using it because we couldn't afford it on our year 2000 pumper. Instead all we could afford was a Hale FoamMaster 3.3 pre-plumbed to 4 handlines with 20 gallons of Class A and 30 Gallons of Class B on-board.

    Job security? I don't think all the CAFS trucks combined will prevent the ignition of 1 house fire. They will still happen. CAFS just helps put them out faster. I doubt city councils will cut back to just a driver at each station because they have something that works better than water. You still have to stretch hoselines, raise ladders, 2-in-2-out etc. Minimum staffing is probably already being implemented no matter where you live.
    Assistant Chief

  3. #3
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    Willington F.D., CT
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    Job security - I don't think so.

    We run with ONE man engine companies. Each of the two paid personnel take a truck. At the scene, we start out with one nozzle man and the other guy operating two trucks and doing incident command. Eventually and hopefully, some volunteers show up.

    On top of that, there are no fire hydrants in town.

    CAFS helps us make the best of a poor situation.

  4. #4
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    Arizona
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    Default

    WE have one CAFS unit. The reasons I hear for not getting CAFS:
    1. Too expensive
    2. We have lots of water (not in my area)
    3. Too hard to maintain

    All of which fall flat with me. The idea of putting out a fully involved structure FROM THE FRONT PORCH without going in justifies the cost. Which brings up #4 (and the dumbest)

    4. Going in is where the rush is. (Told to me with a straight face by a Deputy Chief and Fire Instructor)

    (Yes, and the DANGER!)

  5. #5
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    Jan 2004
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    New Mexico
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    Default

    We use a stored energy CAFS on our rescue truck. It is a 50 gal. tank, powered by a 30-min. SCBA bottle. 100' of 1" hose, and a smooth bore foam nozzle, with 3 % AFFF.

    Main reason for purchase was limited manpower. Previously, on vehicle accidents, we would have to roll a pumper and a rescue. But we have had it about 6-mos. and have not used it for a fire yet. However, I can tell you it works really well for bees.

  6. #6
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    Default New Equipment

    Every new pump equipped vehicle in our department will be equipped with CAFS. Once you use it and play with it you ask yourself why we did not do this earlier. My chief and me have been playing with CAFS and foam for years, it took a couple of major incidents where personnal was short and equipment was heavy to prove the point when we brought in a patrol equipped with CAFS to put out a fire that everyone was working on for over 3 hours before it got there. Once it was there within 45mins we where mopping up. If it had not be asked for everyone figured it would have been 4-5 hours more of active fire fighting to get to the same point without CAFS.

  7. #7
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    Default

    I gotta agree with Mark on CAFS. I was very sceptical of Class A foam. Then I used it and was a believer. I was twice as sceptical with CAFS. Then after a few good fires I was a believer. Now we have had our 1st system in service for a little over a year and wouldn't buy another pumper without it. Our next pumper is being speced with it curretnly (Actually just finished specing it) and we are going with the exact same system again. One word of warning though:
    Be leary of retro-fit applications. Both my career department and a neighboring career department to my volunteer department tried them with less than ideal results. The spec'ed from the beginning type is an excellent tool for your personnel to use.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
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    Default

    We do not use CAFS too often. The experiences I have had with it were not too effective. When you get into fully involved structures, cooling the fire is your best bet. The heat is too intense to worry about smothering, and you end up pushing the fire around. Though CAFS is very effective on room and contents fires or vehicle fires.

    I do not beleive CAFS will ever limit the number of personnel on a fire scene. You will always have that situation where you need water, let alone the other many tasks on a fireground.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

  9. #9
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Default

    Our 1st due pumper is CAFS, amazing fire extinguishing capabilities. Had a fully involved room and contents extending into the hallway, total water use was 147gallons which included overhaul and flushing the foam out of the hose prior to reloading the preconnects (2 pulled only one used).

    With respect, anyone who says CAFS does not work is not using it correctly (if you attack a fire like you're using water it does not work as well as water, it requires a completely different method of attack.

    There is a point in fire load calculations where there is not enough water in CAFS to extinguish the load, but its some where around 1000sq feet fully involved with a single 1 3/4" line flowing 45cfm/95gpm (1:2) CAFS. Up to 1:3 then you're around 1500sq ft, but if you're only pulling one line you're not doing it right anyway.

    We now have 2 CAFS trucks and are considering buying #3 in a 5 truck department.

    Having CAFS does not reduce the need for manpower, it still takes a minimum of 3 persons on an engine crew to perform fire attack (4 if you follow NFPA). You still need vents, search, overhaul, you can just do it quicker with less mess.
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  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
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    Default

    With respect, anyone who says CAFS does not work is not using it correctly
    You are very correct, It was not effective for us but the people who were on the nozzle were not experienced with CAFS. I do not want to say that I am experienced with it either, something we need to do a lot of training on.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

  11. #11
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jmitchell
    we need to do a lot of training on.
    You can't say it any better than that. We had 3 days of class room and practical for basic training, but the best training was in an aquired structure. Both the nozzleman and the pump operator need lots of training. Then lots more.
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