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  1. #1
    Master Firefighter nwadler's Avatar
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    Default High Expansion Foam

    I just got done watching the video from the chicago fire where they used high expansion foam to flood the celler. In Central NY this was tried years ago with little success. What I am wondering is does this actually work. We just had a foam drill tonight and a big city district chief said no to this idea. Thanks in advance for the help.


  2. #2
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    I think your previous experience about sums it up. This fire ultimately required the use of exterior master streams to knock down the fire started coming through the roof anyway some time after the foam was applied.

    Pictures of the incident are available at:

    http://olkee.smugmug.com/gallery/2752880#146621061

    Nate Demarse also has a post on another board with some excellent points about his experience in using this stuff within the FDNY. If he doesn't chime in here, I will see if I can contact him to copy it here.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  3. #3
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    I know nothing about this other than what I saw on the news (on furlough) but, it seems like a waste of time and money. Why not just put the fire out? The CFD seems to be going through a weird time where they just want to buy everything and try all sorts of goofy tactics. If any one has any half assed, stupid ideas to sell, you should contact the CFD right away - it appears we will buy into anything!
    Last edited by ChicagoFF; 04-25-2007 at 02:08 PM.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Most of the time Hi-Ex foam is employed to late and when it is employed....it pushes the fire into voids and the fire still spreads. A-lot of work and prep needs to happen before the operation commences.
    IACOJ Member

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    I watched the video also and the one of the first thoughts I had was how could you ever locate a ff that may have become lost in that mess? I doubt a TIC would even pick them up through the foam.

    I will admit, we have used something similar, but much smaller amount, when we get commercial boat engine room fires.
    "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?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I watched the video also and the one of the first thoughts I had was how could you ever locate a ff that may have become lost in that mess? I doubt a TIC would even pick them up through the foam.
    Interesting point. Apparently the whole foam thing didn't work and they just ended up going in and putting it out anyway. A very large, unsuccessful drill is what it looked like.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  7. #7
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I watched the video also and the one of the first thoughts I had was how could you ever locate a ff that may have become lost in that mess? I doubt a TIC would even pick them up through the foam.
    Well you know it wouldn't. Thats how the Govenator hid from the predator. Covered up in cool mud right. The foam would have to be the same premiss and if thats how it worked on tv......

    On a serious note, that is one of the points that Nate brought up. Seeing how its for educational purposes and I am giving him credit, I seriously doubt that he would mind me copying this here. If he does, hopefully he will be gentle. Originally posted on Firepics.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Demarse
    I have seen a few fires that a few different departments have tried to pump the cellar full of Hi-Ex foam because a conventional attack is either too risky or cannot be done due to fire conditions.

    In almost all cases, the foam filled the cellar and overflowed into the street. Once the cellar is full of foam, the fire is driven into the void spaces and into the cockloft and the building is a total loss anyway.

    The shots are outstanding, but unfortunately the end result is still the same, it just takes longer to achieve the same result.

    You also have to be aware that if you are producing the Hi-Ex Foam in a contaminated atmosphere (in the smoke, even if it is the middle of the street) that those large fans on the "bubble machine" are filling the foam bubbles with the very same contaminants that are found in smoke. When members enter the building to perform an evaluation, THEY MUST WEAR A MASK due to the bubbles breaking and filling the area with the same gases. The Hi-Ex foam gives us a false sense of security because it looks like everything is winding down. Imagine trying to find a downed firefighter in that mess!

    Just a few points that I have learned about using the stuff.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 04-25-2007 at 05:17 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  8. #8
    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up on the post Lt. Kramer. I've been insanely busy and unable to get onto the forum very often.

    Thanks for copying the reply.

    Nate
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  9. #9
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    Default

    I also saw this on TV and via the internet and agreee, " IT IS A WASTE!" Whatever happened to cutting a whole in the floor and using what was called here a Distributor Nozzle/basement pipe? Would have achieved the same this only flood the basement with water instead of foam.

  10. #10
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    Default

    I've not used Hi-ex foam, but have a question.

    What part of the fire tetrahedron does the high-ex foam attack?

    We use water for it's super-cooling effect, and it's ability to exclude oxygen. The high-ex foam introduces more air in the "bubbles" and uses less water. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  11. #11
    Forum Member NDeMarse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geinandputitout View Post
    I've not used Hi-ex foam, but have a question.

    What part of the fire tetrahedron does the high-ex foam attack?

    We use water for it's super-cooling effect, and it's ability to exclude oxygen. The high-ex foam introduces more air in the "bubbles" and uses less water. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Great Question!

    Again, you will have to forgive me if some of this is wrong. I am not by any means a foam professor, but from what I have been taught over the years, the foam separates the fuel from the heat. Just like in a flammable liquids fire, it essentially removes the fuel from the heat of the fire, cools it below the fire point and smothers it from recieving air. It actually attacks all three parts of the triangle.

    Anyone else with any better answer I am game? I gave it a shot.
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

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  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    Default

    I helped manufacture foam so I'll throw in my two cents.


    High expansion foam in interior firefighter is mostly a waste. Its best use would be flooding a basement. Someplace where it can expand and have nowhere to go.

    The problem with high expansion is that its mainly bubbles. It doesnt absorb much heat. It mainly covers and smoothers the fire. High expansion in my mind works best for sprinklers and fuel spills. It expands and doesnt drain down quickly.

    Foam works very simply. Water is heavier than most hydrocarbons and polar solvents. The foam takes the water, makes it light and creates a film over the surface that, yes, cools the fire, but mainly smothers it.

    Another problem with high expansion is that.... you can just shoot it from your nozzles. It needs to be aeriated and has a crappy reach. You HAVE to flood the area with it.

    But, it does look cool and makes a fluffy blanket.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Interesting point. Apparently the whole foam thing didn't work and they just ended up going in and putting it out anyway. A very large, unsuccessful drill is what it looked like.
    You forgot "expensive".

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