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CAFS for Supported Interior Attacks on Residential and Commercial Events

I have some specific questions regarding the use of CAFS on interior fire attack:

1)Do you use CAFS lines for supported interior attacks? Meaning that station can arrive and begin an interior attack without the need to wait for additional units to arrive on scene. I have heard a lot of reports of the use at stations that will perform a transitional (defensive to offensive) knock down from the outside. We are facing implementation of CAFS Engines into our fleet.

2)What are your flows for: 1 3/4, 2 1/2 interior lines?

3)Do you use CAFS for interior attacks in structures that do not have carpet or other absorbant materials for flooring? Do you have any concerns in this scenario with appying CAFS on a surface that will not abosrb and could potentially lead to a slippery surface to walk or.

4)Regarding Interior attacks: Are there any "go, no go" indicators that fall into your decision making prior to use?

We are looking for tactical information on the actual use of CAFS for interior attacks. Thanks, Scott

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Replies to This Discussion

Scott -
We have found that CAFS is not for us. The additional cost, the high maintenance along with additional training didn't have the benift we were looking for. We do use class A foam extensively. As for our attack lines we use the following:
1 3/4 = 160gpm w/combination tip & 185gpm w/solid stream (we use low pressure break apart nozzles with a slug tip)
2 1/2" = 325 gpm w/ 1 1/4" tip.we do not use a combination tip for the 2 1/2"

CAFS.. my main concern for interior attack with CAF is what if you loose the foam system or the compresed air while interior?

Go no go ..... Its a risk benifit thing - risk alot to save alot (lives) risk nothing to save nothing (an empty McDonalds in the middle of the night).

Stay safe,
Bob
Scott,
1) We do not use CAFS
2) We have two size attack lines 1 3/4" or 2 1/2" We have a minimum flow of 150gpm on 1 3/4" using either a 150gpm@50psi or a 7/8" smooth bore thats 160gpm @ 50psi
on 2 1/2 we have a 250gpm@50psi or a 1 1/8" smooth bore thats 265gpm @ 50psi. If you look at my photo you can tell what I prefer.
3)Again no CAFS. Nor do I know much about these system. I am not familiar with any Bay Area,Ca fire departments using this type of system.
4)Go or No Go. This is a topic on its own. We are interior attack for the most part unless we are told otherwise by the IC. most of our defensive fires are commercial structures that are too heavily involved to enter. This is mainly do to the volumes of water needed to extinguish (i.e. master streams) and the potential for roof collapse. Residential fires are almost always an interior attack no matter what the involvement of fire. We have a large amount of ballon frame houses with lath and plaster ceiling and walls that require firefighters inside to complete extinguishment. these homes are solidly constructed without lightweight construction features. I may have a different opinion if I worked in a community of light weight constructed homes and apartments.

Daryl
Oakland, CA
Got'a love that solid stream of water from the nozzle all the way back to the pump!
Bob
No need to reinvent the wheel here, Sir.

Chief Alan Brunacini was asked during a round table forum at a recent conference how his Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) fleet was working out. "Good," he replied. "If you buy a pumping engine without CAFS, it's obsolete." "The policy comes down from God, and She says, 'Fire trucks are red, and they shall have CAFS.'"

http://www.firetactics.com/CAFS.htm

http://www.ad-fab.com/cafs_article.html


in re to #3; if you are throwing CAF from the door, you will probably be on you knees and the slip hazard is slight. What is the structure and what is burning inside it? If it's Class A, CAF will put it out.

Don't have it on our Engines, but I sure wish that we did.

The A Shift Capt was at a defensive deal and they picked up a 2 1/2 inch line and walked along the outside of the structure knocking down fire with one pass. The line was a snap to handle because the thing was 3/4 air. Get with any department near you that uses a CAFS and ask to to check it out next time they are going to do live burn training. Seeing is believing, and if it lives up to the talk, get it.
What happens if the foam system quits or the compressor gives out? Are left inside with minimal amount of water in the line? Or does the system revert back to a standard water line with the required gpm? I see many benifits of CAFs but this is the issue I have never been able to get answered. Every time we have had a demo of CAFs something went wrong with the system. It makes me a little bit nervous.
Bob
If you get equipment from a good source and maintain it as it should be, it's a non-issue. Any part of a pump operation can go down due to equipment malfunction. I've heard of more pumpers being switched out due to over heating than pump failure.

Talk to departments that use CAFS pumpers, ask where they get them and how they've worked out. There are a lot of dealers so there is a wide range of quality. The good ones are spendy on the front end, but they pay for themselves over the long haul.
That is more of the angle that I am asking these questions from : We took delivery of a CAFS engine. We got a house fire. We pulled a 2 1/2" handline, Engineer charged it with CAFS for an interior attack. The foam system did not work, so we got air and water. IT was very hard to handle with not a lot of GPM Flow.

What I am looking for is specifically any department that has CAFS that uses it for sustained interior attacks. I hear a lot from departments that use it for defensive or transitional attacks. The departments that have it and can sustain an initial interior attack have opted to leave it to "Officers Choice". We want to support it and use it correctly. We also do not want anybody to get injured along the path.

Currently if CAFS goes down (you lose the air) we can revert to foam and water and flow from 130-160gpm smooth bore attack. I am comfortable with that. I am more concerned in a situation where we arrive, pull a line go interior and (like it is described) it blacks out the fire quickly. Our members will move in for the kill and I am concerned that we have not addressed the BTU's due to only delivering 95GPM.

I do support CAFS, we have 4 CAFS engines (out of 9 front line engines). We want to use it, we just need some solid information from a dept. that actually uses it and is not a station that does defensive or transitional attacks. I see the use and benefit of that completely.

My other concern is in commercial structures without carpet (hopefully this clears it up). IF we lay into a kitchen fire at the local eatery with a 2 1/2" CAFS line what is going to keep us from looking like ice skaters inside, slipping all over the place. IT seems there would be some hazard in this appication. Meaning- no carpet or other material to absorb the CAFS- NO CAFS for initial operations.

Anyway, we are trying to tackle this currently. We need a proper attack flow (GPM) Some go/no go decision making markers (when to use CAFS when not to use CAFS).

We have checked with some local fire depts. and will continue the hunt.

Thanks, Scott
If you spill the foam concentrate on a floor it will be extremly slick. If you cover a floor with a foam that contains only .3% to a 1% solution of the mixed foam concentrate with water you will find that the foam actually increases the walking traction more than a plain water wet floor. The floor with foam on it becomes squeeky clean like the dishes. This is because the fire creates an oily carbon soot that gets slick when the water on the floors makes the rubber boots loose ftraction. The foam actually cuts the soot like detergent and creates greater traction on non-carpeted floors.

As for the heat after a CAFS attack? Test have proven CAFS can cool a room much faster than plain water attack, and if you will spread the CAFS foam stream with your finger at the tip you will find the broken pattern will clean the room of smoke as well. Each foam bubble has a thin film shell that is loaded with carbon loving surfactants that attract carbon molecules and cling to them and cool them below 212F instantly. Let the bubbles do the work by spreading them over a greater area. A finger in the stream makes a big difference with interior attack.

scott corrigan said:
That is more of the angle that I am asking these questions from : We took delivery of a CAFS engine. We got a house fire. We pulled a 2 1/2" handline, Engineer charged it with CAFS for an interior attack. The foam system did not work, so we got air and water. IT was very hard to handle with not a lot of GPM Flow.

What I am looking for is specifically any department that has CAFS that uses it for sustained interior attacks. I hear a lot from departments that use it for defensive or transitional attacks. The departments that have it and can sustain an initial interior attack have opted to leave it to "Officers Choice". We want to support it and use it correctly. We also do not want anybody to get injured along the path.

Currently if CAFS goes down (you lose the air) we can revert to foam and water and flow from 130-160gpm smooth bore attack. I am comfortable with that. I am more concerned in a situation where we arrive, pull a line go interior and (like it is described) it blacks out the fire quickly. Our members will move in for the kill and I am concerned that we have not addressed the BTU's due to only delivering 95GPM.

I do support CAFS, we have 4 CAFS engines (out of 9 front line engines). We want to use it, we just need some solid information from a dept. that actually uses it and is not a station that does defensive or transitional attacks. I see the use and benefit of that completely.

My other concern is in commercial structures without carpet (hopefully this clears it up). IF we lay into a kitchen fire at the local eatery with a 2 1/2" CAFS line what is going to keep us from looking like ice skaters inside, slipping all over the place. IT seems there would be some hazard in this appication. Meaning- no carpet or other material to absorb the CAFS- NO CAFS for initial operations.

Anyway, we are trying to tackle this currently. We need a proper attack flow (GPM) Some go/no go decision making markers (when to use CAFS when not to use CAFS).

We have checked with some local fire depts. and will continue the hunt.

Thanks, Scott
Attachments:
Scott,

Our Department uses CAFS for all firefighting: offensive and defensive attacks. We have been 100% CAFS fleet for 13 years now, and can fully attest to using CAFS for first-in sustained interior attacks. We used it for many years before we had a good grasp on the theory behind CAFS. We have routinely extinguished fires using only our tank water (750 gallons) before our water supply was established.

We use 200' 1 3/4" rack lines with a Task Force Tips CAFS-Force nozzle. We still leave the fog tip on for "officer discretion" but the smooth bore is a 15/16" insert. Our 2 1/5" nozzles vary, but they are either elkhart automatic nozzles or TFT smooth bore with stack tips.

In my flow tests we obtained right at 104 gpm flow with the rack line, operating at 100 psi discharge pressure. (FOG) and 100 gpm (smooth bore). I have not done flow data on the 2 1/2". Now we have also found that this discharge setting works FOR US in case of an air/compressor failure where we have to flow water/foam. With no air, the flows increase to 157 gpm (FOG) and 165 gpm (smooth bore). That is flowing at the normal operating setting for CAFS flow, before any adjustments for friction loss in the water/foam lines.

Floor concerns: I personally do not think of that since I have always used class a foam for firefighting. I do think it would be a factor in my decision-making to use foam and/or CAFS streams.

I think that Mark Cummings was heading the right way with his discussion on this. You must get to a comfortable flow rate for your department. We fall back to NFPA flows of at least 100 gpm for interior firefighting. For the early years, we were using 60 gpm nozzles and fought much more agressive fires then and it worked. We have not had anyone burned or hurt because of a lack of adequate flow. That is our baseline: adequate fire stream for the conditions. I have had discussions with FF from Des Moines Iowa that had to flow at least 150 gpm CAFS streams before their guys would feel comfortable with it. Today, GIAMEX sells a CAFS system that flows only 40 gpm (Phoenix FD has 2 of them in service).

I assure you that CAFS can be very beneficial to use. Do not be afraid of it. You will need to train on some troubleshooting issues but that will come. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about CAFS and how our Department uses it. www.pflugervillefire.com CAFS_Systems.htm

...Michael Anderson
Good talk here. Hey Lt Anderson! I work with Michael and can vouch for him, he knows his stuff.

I gotta remember the "ice skater" comment, I haven't heard that one yet! Seriously though I have conducted several interior attacks on concrete floors and haven't had any ice skater accidents. I faced more problems from E221 streams though, HA!
Correction Captain...Its E241 hosestreams that you have to look out for......."300" Club
Nick Perkins said:
Good talk here. Hey Lt Anderson! I work with Michael and can vouch for him, he knows his stuff.

I gotta remember the "ice skater" comment, I haven't heard that one yet! Seriously though I have conducted several interior attacks on concrete floors and haven't had any ice skater accidents. I faced more problems from E221 streams though, HA!
I also have used CAFS on interior fire attack on tile floors and all the crews were talking about how slippery it was. I also have seen foam blow out of the house and get on a guy standing at the door with no gear on. Not sure if it should have been used on this fire. WHAT! I HATE CHANGE

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