Thread: Foam Tactics

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    Default Foam Tactics

    My company officer and I got into a conversation on foam operations on residential and wood framed structures. Our local departments only use foam during overhaul operations. I feel there is a benefit to utilize foam in the initial fire attack, but I can also see it being a possible increased hazard to interior crews. Only some of our local departments have CAF systems but still only utilize it during overhaul. My department does not currently use the CAF system. Our inital attacks operate off tank water till supply is established which usually occurs within 5 - 8 mins. So my discussion is, "Is it worth using Class A in the tank early? Does anyone utilize early foam operation in their fire attacks? Has anyone come across any hazards in using foam early? Benefits?

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    the 90's LA County conducted The Palmdale Studies which show foam over water by 2-1 and CAF's over water at 4-1. We have used class A for Structural Attack for the last 15 years, CAF's for the last 5, if the truck did not have an onboard system we would batch the tank. The benefits are faster knock down less water damage and with the CAF's lighter lines with no friction loss, the only draw back would be you need to train crews regularly with the system. A properly pumped CAF's line dose not cause inversion, dose not cover holes in the floor, To Have the system and only use it for overhaul is a waste money, why put up to $40,000 into a system and only use it when the fire is knocked down. If they are not using the system regularly were there installation or Maintenance issues that were not delt with? or dose it show that there was not adequate training on the new technology.
    There are several places on line that you can find the studies that back up foam and CAF's and several good locations for instuctors, and all the Major pump manufactures can also help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcmwater View Post
    My company officer and I got into a conversation on foam operations on residential and wood framed structures. Our local departments only use foam during overhaul operations. I feel there is a benefit to utilize foam in the initial fire attack, but I can also see it being a possible increased hazard to interior crews. Only some of our local departments have CAF systems but still only utilize it during overhaul. My department does not currently use the CAF system. Our inital attacks operate off tank water till supply is established which usually occurs within 5 - 8 mins. So my discussion is, "Is it worth using Class A in the tank early? Does anyone utilize early foam operation in their fire attacks? Has anyone come across any hazards in using foam early? Benefits?
    We use foam for attacking fires. Our first line in is a 2.5 CAFS line. Yes I feel it is worth using. We have knocked some serious fire with CAFS. We have had no hazards using foam. As far as benefits we use way less water and there is less water damage. Another benefit is the line is easier to drag therefore it's easier on the crews and your people. I don't want to sound like a broken record because I have said this a few times before but it's amazing the houses we saved since we have had this truck and they are not being tore down they're being fixed up. We still lay our ldh and set up everything as we use to when we used water (because you never know if the trucks foam system could break down afterall it's a ALF and it wouldn't be the first time.) My opinion is if you start using foam to suppress a fire continue to use it until you're done. Don't switch over half way and use water. A neighboring dept did this and I feel it's a big waste of money (after all foam is like a bit above 60 dollars a jug) I also feel if you have foam use it.

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    We use foam during all phases of fire suppression when applicable. Initial attack especially! A rough estimate of a 1/3 the water used if we were just using straight water. Not only because of the water ratios but because the time to fight the fire is cut dramatically as well using foam. The only hazard we run to is frozen foam during the winter.
    JLS
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    Alarm 200644004, I won't ever forget.


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    Can't add to much to what others have said except that I'm a big fan of CAFS, its a great tool. Like all tools as long as you train with it, use it properly and respect its limitations it can make our jobs much easier.

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    Thanks for the feed back I've presented it to my lieutenant and battalion. They advise their looking into it and into some new tactics and open discussions in the up coming months.

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    Unfortunately for us we could not find a way to afford CAFS on our new truck (it can eventually be retrofitted). We have used and continue to use class A foam right from the start at .05% at all but the smallest of fires for 12+ years. On wildland and overhaul we dial it back to .02%

    On two recent fully involved rural structure fires using our new truck with foam (2x 1.75" and 1x 2.5" handlines) we knocked them down and mopped them up in considerably shorter time than in "the old days".

    Although the foam is expensive, we consider it to be a priority item within our budget. Just by getting our vollies back to their jobs sooner (or a few hours of sleep before having to go to work) has made their lives easier, not to mention their community minded bosses happier.

    Stay Safe
    firefighter1962

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    Default CAFS All the Way

    We purchased a CAFS Pumper two years ago and I will never purchase another pumper without one. They are a little expesive to get into, but well worth it. We do all of our structural attacks with CAFS. We also use it on car fires, dumpster fires, etc. The benefits of CAFS definitely outweigh the detriments. You get faster knockdown, good penetration, lower chance of rekindle, and it's easier on your firefighters. When researching CAFS for this new pumper I found testing results that showed a 50' section of 2 1/2" with just water weighs 72 pounds. With CAFS that same 50' section only weighs 46 pounds. The downside is - CAF sticks to everything and makes everything slick (fall hazzard). The only other downfall that I found is that you MUST train people on it - alot. If you miss one step, it will not work properly and you will be blowing air out the nozzle of you hoze instead of foam. Once your guys get through the process a few times in training, it's actually pretty easy to use. We use it on almost EVERYTHING. It prevents a lot of smoke damage, fire damage and water damage so - why not? Foam works and Compressed Air Foam works even better.

    Chief 77

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