ok, i've taken on the task of putting together a new "combo quick attack" truck for my dept. i've decided to go with a F550 reg. cab, with a custom box, roll up doors and all that BS. i've got a 300gallon water tank with a 300gpm pump. i spec'd it with a CAFS system and a simple to use foampro controls. i met instant resistance from some of the "SR" memebers and officers due to the 12,000 price diff compared to normal class A foam. i am looking for some help on ways to better sell the idea of the CAFS. we respond to an av. of 220 calls a year, well mixed with forestry calls, ranging from 500 feet around to 5-10 acres, MVC's, building fires, and car fires. not to mention the "out of the norm" calls when they arrive. so any help and youtube links to show the pros and cons of the CAFS would be great, thanks all and stay safe!

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Rob,

It comes down to a couple of basic points...

CAFS is better for protecting structures and for preventing re-ignition, since it clings to vertical and diagonal surfaces very well. It's also easier to handle CAFS lines, as they're mostly full of air in the finished foam that's pumped through the hose.

Regular Class A foam is just as good for knockdown during an offensive attack - maybe a little better, because it has better surface penetration characteristics in many ordinary combustibles. It just runs off faster than CAFS.

The three big disadvantages of CAFS compared to regular Class A foam are cost, pump complexity, and hoseline kinking. Obviously the extra CAFS pump and PTO requirements are more costly. The pump plumbing is more complex, and makes maintenance a little more difficult due to taking up more space in the pump compartment. CAFS finished foam is so light that it won't keep the attack line as rigid compared to water or Class A foam solution. That can lead to excessive kinking and the requirement to do much more kink-chasing during an interior attack, especially in small spaces or when there are lots of corners/bends between the pump and the fire.

Class A foam won't help you all that much on vehicle fires or MVCs. I'd look at Class B foam capability and/or a fuel emulsifier for those, regardless of which Class A system you choose.

Good luck.
Ben
Send me an email to donald_c_zimmerman@rl.gov and I will send a pictures of what we have for 'fast attack'. I will have a picture from every angle. I am at home right now and will working tommorow.
No input on the CAFS but I want to warn you about the f550 if it has the turbo powerstroke my dept has an 05 and has had 2 turbos and now needs the 3rd one replaced. 2 of our sister depts has had the same problem.
Class A foam was first developed by the Texas Forest service for wildland fires. My first experience with it was at the Texas A & M fire school and I have been a convert since then. Yes it does have a few drawbacks, price being the first one. But all of the studies I have seen have rated the fire suppression ability any where from 3 to 50 times more effective than plain water. It depends on the concentration of the class A foam and how much if any air is put into the line. So your 300 gallon water tank just became a 900 gallon tank at the most conservative end of the range. I disagree with Ben about the use of class A foam on vehicle fires. If a large amount of a flamable liquid has spilled class B would be the best choice, though studies have shown CAFS id effective since it forms a foam blanketm but most vehicle fires are fueled by class A fuel, and it is very effective against a vehicle fire.
yeah, i'm not a big ford fan myself, that and the 2009/2010 model year we are ordering will have the new 6.8L powerJOKE engine, hopefully it will last, the main reason for going the "ford" (flip over, read directions) route was due to being able to have a 17,000 or so grvw out of a smaller sized truck. our ambulance has had turbo issues since new, and it only has 12,000 and some change on it.
i doubt we will end up using it for structure attack, mostly will be for forestry and MVC's, and from what i've been learning from everyone else, it will be used for alot of exposure protection. my email address is "heapa@hotmail.com" so if anyone has any photo's feel free to send them, along with links to youtube video's. thanks again and keep the info coming!!
I guess it depends on who makes the foam and maybe the exact concentrate characteristics. Our Class A foam is supposed to be multipurpose Class A/B foam. It works OK on ordinary combustibles, but it has very poor extinguishing characteristics on Class B fires, very poor Class B vapor suppression and burnback prevention, and does a very poor job on extinguishing pool or running spill fires. I guess Class A foam is OK on car fires that never leak fuel or lubricants. I have yet to see that car fire.
If you're going to use it primarily on MVCs, I'd go with Class B foam.
If Class A foam is effective on Class B fires, why do ARFF firefighters and industrial petrochemical firefighters carry Class B foam in large quantities on their ARFF or foam engines?

A 5-gallon bucket of fuel emulsifier goes a long way toward eliminating fuel spill fires, but it's a little expensive.
i guess i've still got quite a bit of work ahead of me, the maj. of our calls are mvc's and wildland, more often than not the mvc's require no fire attack and 5lbs of kitty litter and a shovel clean up most any mess. as far as a com. tanker crash, well, read the placard with the binocs, evac and keep the tanks cool with the deck gun. in regards to forestry, we will be outfitting the truck with progressive packs, with 1 1/2 as supply line, dropped to 1" after 1,000 feet, with " T's" every 200 feet that we can tie into with our 3/4" fire hose for mop up and ease of use. i can see the cafs working well in the instant of friction loss, and being light, how about relay portable pumping?? what will happen if i tie in a 300gpm portable 1,200 feet up the line with a 6% or so uphill grade?? as it is now, we use inductors, they are respectable, but require more water,which out in the woods is often a challange to find. so consider serving a town of about 2,500 year round homeowners, and a jump to 15,000 in the summer months, with the maj. being wildland around 2-5 acres on the norm, and mvc's. what would you favor and why??
so what cost diff would you say is between the f650 proloader and the f550 stupid duty??? we are in the middle of a meeting now, and i showed off the pics of your truck, the crew is interested, looks like we will be ordering now in early 2010, so lemme know
If you go to the foam pro web site there are some really good graphs and info on foam.

http://www.foampro.com/en-us/Why+Foam/
Rowe Industries makes a really affordable cafs system and build some really nice trucks you might give them a look.

http://www.cafssystems.com/

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