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CAFS is it worth it?

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  • CAFS is it worth it?

    I was wanting to know what the people that have CAFS think of it. We are looking at the system for all fires(structure,grass,vehicle,
    crude oil,hay,dairy feed etc.)except LPG. I want to know the good and the bad.

    Any info appreciated Tanks.

  • #2
    Hi D308,

    We've had our CAFS unit for 3 years now. It works great. Training and education on how the CAFS system operates and how it is used is the key. It simply makes water more efficient. If you go to "Apparatus Inovations" under FH forums and scroll down to "Questions about CAFS", you will see a lot of good information and comments about CAFS. http://server.firehouse.com/forums/F...ML/000387.html

    Good luck. It well worth the investment!

    Capt. Lou
    Got Foam!

    [This message has been edited by Capt. Lou (edited 05-17-2001).]


    • #3
      I have a question for you guys that use foam on structure fires...

      Does using foam make salvage and overhaul more difficult? Seems that it would but I have no clue, we don't use foam on structure fires, only haz-mat etc.

      Thanks in advance.

      Be safe out there!!


      • #4
        We have CAFS on out Ladder and had it put on our number 2 engine, and carry a pack on our number 1 engine to use. I think it is a really great system. As far as making salvage and overhaul more difficult, I don't think it does, cause you use less water and therefore you have less damage to the interior. I also like it for the exposure protection it offers, and the rapid fire supression capabilities. We have used it once for that, we sprayed a house next to some apartments that we burning and then when we were done simply washed it off. It seems to make things alot easier, esp on the volunteer departments cause sometimes you dont have the manpower or resources to set a line and put a constant amount of water on an exposure and this way you just spray and check it every now and then during the fire to make sure its doing its job. CAFS is a valuable asset to me and to my department.

        My Opinions are mine and mine alone. They don't reflect my departments or anyone on my department's opinions.


        • #5
          I think CAFS have a place in the right setting. It is completely justified when water supplies are limited.

          Too many times departments spec new toys on apparatus that increases the cost and they never get used. If you feel you have the need, go for it. Just make sure you use it if you get it.

          My department uses the Fecon system. Because we don't use foam in structural settings, it is the most cost effective for my department. But what works here may not there.

          Good Luck


          • #6
            Feecon foam systems

            How do you use it when hooked to a hydrant?


            • #7
              Hi Truckman,

              I read your comments and I have some questions that I would like to ask you, so that I may better understand your point of view.

              Do you know what CAFS is?
              Do you understand how CAFS works?
              Do you know the difference between Class "A" and Class "B" foam?
              Do you know and understand how to properly use and apply Class "A" & "B" foam?
              What does limited water supply have to do with CAFS?

              CAFS IS NOT a "toy". It is a tactical advantage for any department that has and utilizes it. The advantages far out weigh the costs of a CAFS system. The problem is usually that not enough or no training and education on a CAFS system is provided when a department purchases one.

              CAFS make water much more efficient, reduces stress and fatigue to firefighters and reduces water damage to the structure in which there is a fire. It also has superior exposure protection as well.

              CAFS is a different and much better way of extinguishing a fire. Regardless if it is a structure or a brush fire. It works great!

              Capt. Lou
              Got Foam!


              • #8
                I heard a quote from Chief Brunacini that went something like, "I was talking to God and she said all fire engines were to be red and have CASF"

                Negative, I am a meat popsicle.


                • #9

                  Not a CAFS issue but a good question.

                  As you know you require a pressure differential for the feecon system I believe its around 50-60 psi.

                  You need to restrict the hydrant pressure coming in. This can be done by gating down the hydrant to control the amount of intake pressure.

                  The idea being the same as the restricter plates you used on your discharges. And yes this will also reduce the flow into the pump.

                  But again as you increase discharge flow the pressure differential will increase also between the inlet and discharge. As the differential increases you can reduce the amount of gate on the inlet to increase flows into the pump.

                  It becomes quite a dance manually. However I am hearing that recently there was a valve released that will automatically gate the inlet to maintain the correct differential. I'll post when I get more on it.

                  You can also direct connect the hydrant to a direct tank fill and use an automatic tank valve.

                  The valve will open and close to maintain tank levels and you simply draft of your tank.


                  • #10
                    Hi Capt. Lou

                    You answered your own question. If the system makes water more efficient then dealing with a limited water supply will make the water on hand more efficient, so you should be able to the same with less.

                    Now I'm not about to argue with you on the usefulness of these systems that was not my point. I'm only pointing out the fact that departments, all over, often make equipment and apparatus purchases that are only based on the fact that it is "the new and improved do all thing." They don't understand how, when or where to use them and therefore it becomes a show piece that never gets used.

                    I know the difference between class A and B foams, I've used both. I'm not claiming to be an expert on CAFS, I'm just pointing out, "If you buy it use it." I just so happens that my department has chose not to.

                    Be safe

                    [This message has been edited by Truckman (edited 05-18-2001).]

                    [This message has been edited by Truckman (edited 05-18-2001).]


                    • #11
                      Thank for the info and KEEP IT COMEIN! Just as some insight to my ditrict we are a town of 150 people. We have 65,000 gallons of storage in the city water system and are looking at some more. we run 1 engine 4 grassfire/tanker trucks one tanker and a minipumper/automotive rescue truck, along with a ILS/ACLS ambulance. Our first response area is 400 sq. miles with mutual aid to a area probably 10 to 15 times that big(no bull).

                      Thanks for the info


                      • #12
                        I'd buy water storage before I'd spend money on CAFS.


                        • #13

                          [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 05-18-2001).]


                          • #14
                            /I'd buy water storage before I'd spend money on CAFS./

                            Sorry for my confusion Larry, but if this is your position why would you promote CAFS as yo have done in other forums?

                            Just Curious. Maybe I missunderstood your post?

                            Kirk Allen
                            First Strike Technologies, Inc


                            • #15
                              //Sorry for my confusion Larry, but if this is your position why would you promote CAFS as yo have done in other forums?

                              Gee, it all depends doesn't it? If you don't have turnouts or air packs should his FD buy an imager? If they don't have any people would buying two trucks make sense?

                              IN his case, they've only got 65,000 gallons of water in the town's water system, what does that leave you to fight fire with in the summer? A couple thousand gallons at max.

                              I'm sure if you've read his other posts and my replies that I've explained to this gentleman who asks the question how to afford all the things he needs. Now if he takes action he will be able to afford CAFS or whatever apparatus he desires one day very very soon, but with no bullets for his guns what is the purpose of buying more guns.

                              Making his water system match the pump capacity of his largest fire engine and a little hose will bring him $40,000 a year forever. Buying CAFS will bring him in zero dollars. Which would you choose?


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