Has anyone used a CAFS on an Ethanol fire using AFFF? How did it work for you and how much BTU or fire did you have? We have a Ethanol plant here in Garnett and have had two incidents. One at the plant with a vessel blow out. And one tanker rollover with7,000 gallons on board mixed with30% gasoline.

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Comment by Michael Spellmeier on June 17, 2009 at 6:52pm
Sorry guys I put in the wrong type of foam. It was to early in the morning. Thanks for all your comments. I did not know about cleaning out the educator ours is cleaned now. We have already had a tanker truck roll over and spill. Ethanol it self evaporates quickly. All that the state worried about was the gasoline that was mixed with it before the truck left the plant. The plant that is here at Garnett only has two totes for reserve and it is AR-AFF
Comment by FETC on June 16, 2009 at 7:29pm
Ethanol is alcohol based so you need the appropriate foam solution for maximum effectiveness. AFFF will work for knock down but not great for vapor suppression resistance. You need to order AR-AFFF or ATC which has been explained already.

Another thing to remember is if you are planning on calling the local airport for a crash truck foam response to an ethanol based tanker fire, you are NOT going to get AR-AFFF. The FAA requires any FAA certified airport that uses their money to exclusively use per the advisory circular Mil-Spec AFFF proportioned at 3%.

AR-AFFF is not routinely used in the ARFF community, unless they have a pumper or additional unit that was designed or set-up to protect the fuel depot or fuel farm.

Comment by Paul Montpetit on June 16, 2009 at 7:13pm
another thing I forgot to mention......DUH...!!!! Don't forget to call eithr the coast guard if waterways involved or Dept of Environmental Conservation if on land...they are government agencies and when they show up they carry big checkbooks......you can loan them a pen......LOL...its going to be co$tly...Last time I looked its about $65 for 5 gals.....Paul
Comment by Ben Waller on June 16, 2009 at 5:13pm
We intentionally avoided CAFS on our new engine fleet in order to stay away from this exact problem. Instead, we specified a Foam Pro onboard foam injection system. We have both Class A and Class B tanks on the apparatus. The Class A foam is proportioned at 0.1% as a wetting agent and at 1% as a firefighting foam. The Class B foam is AR-AFF, proportioned at 1% for liquid hydrocarbon fires and at 3% for ethanol or other polar solvents, with or without another fuel (gasoline + ethanol mix) being involved.

We have a trailer with additional foam in case we run into a tanker carrying ethanol-gasoline mixes that exceeds the capacity of our foam on board the engines.

AR-AFFF is incompatible with most Class A foams and with traditional protein, flouroprotein, or standard AFFF foams in concentrate form. Mix them, and you generally get a gel that clogs the plumbing on the entire foam system. As Paul said, you must flush with lots of clean water between foam types, regardless of whether you use an in-line eductor, an onboard injection system, or an around-the-pump proportioner system.
Comment by Paul Montpetit on June 16, 2009 at 11:58am
oops almost forgot....you cannot run ARFFF through the cafs system on your trucks either...you have to use an eductor and take it apart and clean it well after use.......Paul
Comment by Paul Montpetit on June 16, 2009 at 11:57am
Don't do it...it will only spread the fire....I also just took a State Fire course called Flammable/combustable liquids and the only thing recommended is ARFFF...in a scenario they gave us a 12000 gal super tanker burst....it would take approximately 3100 gals of concertrate to put it out....currently the only way that ethanol is shipped is by super tanker, rail or barge...it is too corrosive to pipe it in....so many departments should prepare...you will all see it soon.....personally...if it is not threatening life I would let it burn itself out......Stay safe...keep the faith....Paul
Comment by Trainer on June 16, 2009 at 6:50am
No I have not but….CAF’s is NOT recommended for ethanol fires, you need ARFFF, alcohol resistant foam. According to the class I just took, CAF’s is more of a cover then a build-up and they want a 2ft blanket over the product. In incidents of this type you need AR foam, and lot’s of it, totes or tankers not 5gal buckets. If you plant does not have this available, they better get it.

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