Using Foam Increases Operational Efficiency

Many rural and small urban fire brigades have already embraced the use of Class A foam as part of their everyday operational tactics reports Dave Pelton of Solberg. Their use of Class A foam, quite simply, makes good sense for them. For any brigade that has to bring their water to the scene with them and has to establish water tanker shuttles, using Class A foam can easily increase operational efficiency of fighting the fire. The reason for this is that, Class A foam, when properly deployed, allows the fire to be extinguished more quickly and with far less water than would be required if it were not being used. On average, the use of Class A foam increases water’s wetting capability 10 fold. In more simplified terms… “making water wetter.” In addition, the amount of time required post extinguishment during overhaul or mop up is greatly reduced.

“The use of firefighting foam by the fire service is not a single extinguishing solution, rather a tool (amongst many tools) that when combined with tactics create a more efficient operational scenario.”.

With the introduction of CAFS some brigades have taken the approach believing they could reduce water consumption (lpm) but the reality is whether using CAFS or traditional foam application appliances like line eductors or foam nozzles, water is still needed to suppress fire.

The use of foam, like other resources available to the fire service, is a force multiplier that when employed with traditional tactics stabilizes the fire hazard thus allowing fire personnel to enter the structure for overhaul. While there are efficiencies associated with the use of foam be it advancements in system hardware technology or the foam concentrate itself, the use of firefighting foam and Class A foam in particular is an asset the fire service should not overlook for structural protection.

One area frequently overlooked for the use of Class A foam is zero lot line properties or multi-family dwellings where the likelihood of multiple exposure fire scenarios is high. The ability to use foam for both internal and external exposure protection and simultaneous active fire suppression is an extremely valuable resource for those in the fire service. Another advantage in using Class A foam is that lower nozzle flow rates are capable of being used. Fire flow rates can easily be reduced by half or more when Class A foam is deployed.