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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

I looked at your guys website and it looks like some great information. I have been sent all kinds of vids from Youtube but most are for free burning post flashover fires.

I am totally sold on the use of CAFS for all events that we respond to except the following scenario, and I am only against using it for this scenario due only to lack of experience. I am hesitant to support the "just believe" movement. So here goes the scenario and my thoughts:

Pre Flashover/ Compartmentalized/ Unventilated Structure Fire- nobody outside the building- third party report: Everything about this leads us to an interior attack and search operation.

1) I know that I can begin to cool the atmosphere and limit the air inflow to reduce the heat and not allow this to progress to flashover. I know that I can use my fog nozzle in small compartmentalized areas that have the high hazard of smoke ignition. I do not want to apply my stream to the overhead materials that may or may not be superheated to limit the stream production/conversion into that compartment. I also know that if this event begins to move toward flashover and I can not get rise and lift of the smoke confirming that I am not cooling it, I can dial to a straight stream and appy 150gpm toward the area of involvement.

2) Given the low GPM flows of the CAFS lines: I am not sure how this same scenario will play out. I have heard versions of paint all the surfaces to just hit it from the outside, etc. My goal is to keep it from flashover and reduce the heat from the interior, if I have CAFS and the fire progresses toward flashover, I seem (my inexperienced personal statement) to have no reserve to do more against this fire.

Hopefully that more clearly spells out my concerns. Currently we will use cafs on all of our structure fires except the above scenario. However, if we can establish quick vertical or PPA to resolve the hazards inside we will use CAFS.

We have tried to be open to change, but our horses get really scared when we fire up the Portable CAFS unit we have strapped to them. We have sometimes used technology to self inflict wounds.

I am surprised there is not more of a movement to clarify the use of CAFS. I have looked into some of the original players and it seems that they are moving away from CAFS. What other departments in your area are using CAFS in similar form to you guys at.......how exactly do you pronouce that?

You guys have provided some great info. to chew on, keep it coming.
Doug, The concentrates needed for a proper CAFS application should never be more than 1 percent in water. At this ratio I have never experienced slick conditions. After 30 years developing and using CAFS, slick has never been a problem.

If you use a gelling agent in CAFS, or any other system, you might find VERY slick conditions. Gels are seldom needed with a good CAFS unit. You can make foam last for hours as a heat barrier for structure exposure protection or line building for back-fire operations in the wildland fires. Add the oil eating microbes to the foam for effective spill washdown at the highway wrecks, the roadways will be squeeky clean and NOT slick or toxic.

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