1. #1
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    Question Using Class A foam at structure fires.

    Hey guys, I just joined a new department( 6 months ago) and I was suprised to learn that they use Class A foam( off from their main engine using a foam pro 2002 system) at structure fires. I have been to two structure fires in the last month where we have used this tactic. I will say that I was greatly suprised at how well it worked and the knockdown power it had. Is this a widely used tactic? Or is this a waste of resources? I am intrested in hearing everyones input. Oh they are using the class at at .5%-1%.

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    Bump!


    Was hoping I would get more of a response for this thread.

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    Relax. It's only be 7 hours in the middle of the night.

    By the way, have you tried searching the forums for foam threads? There are quite a few.

    And to answer your question, it's not real common in my area but I do know of other areas that use foam all the time. If the fire is being put out, how can it be a waste of resources?
    "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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    Yes I did do a search and yes there was numerous threads, some six years old! I don't know about the rest of you but sometimes people change their minds on things. I don't understand some people waiting to ask new memebers, hey did you do a search stupid? Whats wrong with asking for peoples updates thoughts, if it is a topic you have already read about, don't click on it.

    As far as a waste of resource I was asking about money wise.

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    Way to rile up the senior members.

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    I just wanted to get peoples thoughts. Not trying to rile anyone up. I am hoping to get some quality discussion that all.

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    I personally do not know of any departmetns that use foam for structure fires. We've never used foam on a structure but I guess that one of my questions would be. Does it knock the flames down that much faster to make it cost effective, how much foam is used in a tactic like that? We seem to get fairly fast knock downs by using a TIC to locate the seat of the fire then hitting it with water. This tactic allows us to minimize water damage and fire damage at the same time. We have very limited financial resources so we have to be cautious when we use foam because we do have incidents that foam is required. If we use our foam when we have have other resources that can get the job done with the same result then we are not managing reasources very well. At least that is my opinion.

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    Default foam

    We have used class a foam at structure fires very successfully here but not at all times. It is a situation call be the on scene in command or the BC.

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    No problem, it takes more than a post or two to get me riled up.

    The reason I said to search was that there have been discussions on the use of foam here many times. They may be old threads, but then again, so is the practice of using foam. There really is not much new to discuss.

    There have also been a few threads on CAFS use, but once the novelty of the thread wears off, you see pretty much everyone stating the same things over and over.
    "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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    We use water. It works great and it's free!

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    We'll use foam in the overhaul stage sometimes. Especially if the home was covered by insurance, then we're not out any money
    Chief
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    My career FD had class A foam installed on our new quint. It works very well. I wish we would use it on EVERY fire.

    My volly FD has it included in the specs of our new rescue pumper set to arrive late April/early May. We have class A on our brush truck and have successfully used it for overhaul in several structure fires.

    A couple of points about Class A foam and water.

    1) Water is NOT free anywhere in America. It may be abundant, it may be easily accessible, but it is NEVER free. There is a water department with wells and mains, and hydrants that cost money. Honestly, if water was free there would be no water bills for homes and businesses and no hydrant rental. In the rural water isn't free even if you are drafting from a static water source because of things like tankers and dry hydrants and other associated costs.

    2) Class A foam for structural firefighting is usually metered at between .3% and .5%. Unless you need a very sudsy foamy type of covering foam you don't need more than this. Our brush truck is set at .3% at my volly FD and the quint at my career Fd is set at .3%.

    3) The uses of Class A foam for structural firefighting are really 3 fold.
    A) To break the surface tension of water to allow it to pentrate more and coat burning materials. (with a dishwater type of consistency)
    B) To cover material in a more sudsy blanket of foam during overhaul to prevent reignition.(more bubbly, generally aerated with an aspirating nozzle)
    C) To cover exposures to stop fire spread.(almsot shaving cream consistency, absolutely aerated, or if you spent the money cafs)

    I honestly believe Class A foam should be used on all room and contents type fires. If you are metering at .3% percent you are only using 38 1/2 ounces of foam per 100 gallons of water. Most room and contenst fires take far less than that to extinguish. It extinguished faster, makes for a more secure extinguishment, aids in overhaul and honestly saves time.

    Remember this is just one man's opinion...yours may vary and heck I am willing to listen.

    FyredUp

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    On my department foam is just part of doing business. We use it on almost all fires. Class A is good CAFS is even beter.

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    Now that we have some new apparatus with onboard foam systems, we use it on most fires. On our old engine we had only an inline eductor, and it was far more hassle than it was worth on most fires.

    When used in low concentrations as a wetting agent, it is cost effective, and does result in quicker knockdown with reduced reignition. When used to make "Shaving Cream", it costs a bloody fortune, so you have to weigh the value, and watch your consumption rates.
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    We use foam at almost all of our fires, problem being that the engineer needs to turn it on, in the heat of the moment, some tend to forget. We. use .5% concetration. I prefer between .7% and .8% but that's just me, little bit thicker, but not shaving cream consistency. Plain water with a correct line size/nozzle works just as well though. Oh, and for the sake of yourself, your part of the department, it's OUR department, not They.

    "I was suprised to learn that they use Class A foam" Replace they, with we. TAKE SOME PRIDE BOY! Oh and welcome to the fire service...
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    FyredUp, I once in a while draft from our inlet to the ocean. No dock, no dry hydrant, just our hard sleeves thrown over the side. Who do I send the check to?
    "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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    FyredUp - and others

    Firstly I am interested in your experiences in Water v Class A v CAFS
    I know you know how to push a hellahvalot of water through 2" line So .... how can the foam options compare? Surely, if you're using tank water then foam can extend your ops time .... but if the supply is fed in, then just use more water to get the same effect right?

    Also .... CAFS appears to offer greater advantages over Class A - such as lightweight hose .... reduced knockdown times .... and less foam used?

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    Paul

    Also far longer hose lengths can be used.

    Biggest point in using foam, inside or out, is to feel where your boots are going when you walk through the muck.

    Nothing like twisting or breaking an ankle to wreck your day.
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    chicago ff wrote

    We use water. It works great and it's free!

    You don't like foam, you don't believe in ppv, do you like any technological advances in the fire service or are you one of those guys who are locked in to the mentality" we have always done it this way so we don't need to try anything else"?


    Thanks for all you that have taken the time to answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffjames
    chicago ff wrote

    We use water. It works great and it's free!

    You don't like foam, you don't believe in ppv, do you like any technological advances in the fire service or are you one of those guys who are locked in to the mentality" we have always done it this way so we don't need to try anything else"?

    .
    Boy, for somebody who isn't looking to get anyone riled up, you sure make comments that are likely to get people riled up.....

    When did chicago ff say anything about PPV? All he said was that water works great and it's free. I don't recall him saying anything about not liking foam....anybody else hear that?

    How about showing a little respect for the elders, junior? Goes a long way.....
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    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    We use water. It works great and it's free!

    The water is expensive here; it costs a great deal of money to clean out all of the poop, toilet paper, and used condoms that are flushed out into the lake following any rainstorm.
    However, it is still cheaper than buying all of those buckets of foam.

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    ffjames these forums are an excellent research and learning tool. There is a huge pool of knowledge here but you wont be able to tap into it if you dont shut your mouth and open your ears. Sounds an awful lot like what a new guy should do around the Station doesn't it. You may not mean to sound like a pain in the *ss know it all rookie but you do. You need to realize that in the REALLY big departments like Chicago and NYC change can be a difficult thing to impliment. I work for a 1000 man dept and change is difficult even for us.I don't agree with some of Chicagos tactics but thay have been putting out fires for quite a while now so they can't be all bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45
    The water is expensive here; it costs a great deal of money to clean out all of the poop, toilet paper, and used condoms that are flushed out into the lake following any rainstorm.
    However, it is still cheaper than buying all of those buckets of foam.
    Used condoms? You mean there are people that actually use those things in Milwaukee? Nobody in our zone seems to even know what they are. What engine are you on btw? You said you worked the Bell incident.
    FF/NREMT-B

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    Bones...

    If you are directly applying water from the ocean to the fire...free, if not, it has a cost.

    Paul...

    I have not personally EVER used cafs. I saw it used at practice burns and found it to be an interesting and effective tool for stopping fire spread to exposures. Annecdotely I have several friends on the Madison FD that have used cafs. At one point all they were buying were cafs engines. They now have gone totally away from cafs. Their comments, again THEIRS, NOT MINE. The majority thought the light hose was great. The majority said it did a good job extinguishing fire. BUT, they also said they felt the heat reduction was not there with cafs like plain water. They also had nightmares with water supply overpowering the cafs and not letting the mixture work right. AGAIN, this is their words not mine.

    Class A foam on the other hand still has a higher water content and does cool and still penetrates better than plain water. Our new rescue pumper will have a Class A foam system and we look forward to using it during initial attack. As I stated earlier we have used it successfully for years for overhaul on my volly FD through our low flow brush rig. It does make the water more effective thereby stretching it.

    jasper....

    For a room and contents or multiple rooms and contents foam is cost effective. 38 1/2 ounces of foam per 100 gallons of water. The average room and contents fire doesn't take a whole lot more than that for knockdown and overhaul with foam.

    FlyingKiwi...

    The way we use Class A foam during fire attack you don't get the deep sudsy foam. You get a solution more like dish water with most of the bubbles gone. If we want it thicker we use an aerating nozzle. On our brush truck we use TFT Bubblecup nozzles. When they are set to aerate we can make darn near shaving cream for burying burning materials or exposure protection.

    PFD4Life...

    I won't tell you .7% or .8% is wrong, but most manufacturers recomend in the .3% to .5% range for normal fire attack.


    For normal fire attack we will still use our Elkhart low pressure nozzles. For overhaul or exposure protection we plan to buy a 95 gpm Bubblecup nozzle to make a more sudsy foam.

    I guess I need to say, that in my opinion, using foam on a fully involved structure is a waste of money IF water is readily available. The quantity of foam needed usually isn't available to effect a knockdown using faom on that type of fire.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by lvwrench
    We have used class a foam at structure fires very successfully here but not at all times. It is a situation call be the on scene in command or the BC.

    Wow I didn't know that,I've been an Engineer with LVF&R 3 years now and I flow foam on everything. Maybe I should come to the shop for some remedial training.

    Now back to your question, we carry class A & B and we use class A on everything from brush fires to house fires and everything in between without having to get approval from the BC. Our Admin. promotes its use and has never complained about the cost. Hence the price of doing business,we have found it works well do to its decreasing the density of water which in turn increases the absorbtion rate of the water.

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