Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department

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Taylor County Public Notice

Taylor County Public Notice

Technology Is On Our Side with CAFS (Compressed Air Foam System)
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By Member Timothy Scott
October 29, 2018

Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) is the way of the future in fighting structure fires. When used as a firefighting agent, a CAFS fire stream has a very high heat absorption quality that will suppress a fire in a fraction of the time when compared to conventional firefighting tactics using plain water.

This improved effectiveness results in a decreased risk to firefighters during combat operations, enlarges the window of opportunity for rescue of occupants, reduces property damage and lowers overall operational costs.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation first published the 16 Life Safety Initiatives, part of its Everyone Goes Home program in March 2004. Initiative 8 states: "Utilize available technology wherever it can produce higher levels of health and safety."

Initiative 16 states: "Safety must be a primary consideration in the design of apparatus and equipment." The executive summary for the 16th Initiative concludes with this statement: "The 16th Initiative ratifies the belief that no firefighter should die in the line-of-duty due to apparatus or equipment-related issues."

4 Major Points why Fire Departments need to start using CAFS

1. CAFS reduces water used.
The less water you need for extinguishment, the less you have to use and the less water you have to bring to the scene. Consider how big of an issue water conservation is in those localities affected limited water supplies.

2. CAFS reduces hazardous chemical exposure to fire fighters and occupants.
Quicker fire knockdown and ultimate extinguishment means less active burning and less release of products of combustion into the atmosphere.

3. CAFS reduces property damage.
The NIFC study concluded that 90 percent of the water used on test fires failed to extinguish the fire because the water did not penetrate the surface of the burning material. In another study, NIFC found that in Oregon, 75 cents of every dollar paid in fire claims was the result of water damage. So, if 90 percent of the water that we use for fire extinguishment is not getting the job done, and 75 percent of insurance claims in one state are for water damage, shouldn't we be looking to CAFS?

4. CAFS reduces firefighter safety risk.
Quicker knockdown times means fewer fires will reach flashover stage. Faster reduction of interior temperatures means fewer fires where firefighters are exposed to high interior temperatures. There is also a reduction of firefighter fatigue and resultant sprain and strain injuries incurred while advancing hose lines for fire attack — CAFS hose lines are much lighter and more maneuverable than conventional hose lines because 75 percent of the hose's contents are air bubbles.

Down Side: The cost
CAF system is a significant cost item on a new piece of pumping apparatus (Fire Departments will need to purchase new pumper, no solution to retro fit existing equipment)

Look below for test result of water vs. Class A vs. CAFS (results published by Los Angeles County Fire Department test results)

Water flow (gpm)
Water: 90
Class A: 90
CAFS: 90

Knockdown (seconds)
Water: 50
Class A: 25
CAFS: 11

Water needed for knockdown (gallons)
Water: 75
Class A: 44
CAFS: 16

Average time for interior temperature drop to 200 degrees F (min:sec)
Water: 6:03
Class A: 1:45
CAFS: 1:28

Currently BGVFD does not utilize CAFS, BGVFD has set its sights on a new replacement equipment for their ageing pumper. BGVFD will soon make this new technology a focal point for fund raising and the target for future grants. This may be the most significate development in firefighting technology in decades. Fighting fires is extremely dangerous, new technology can help save the lives of the home occupants of a burning structure and the volunteer that runs out leaving his or her family safely at home as they go and help their community. If you don't have time to volunteer, you can be part of the BGVFD team by sending us your hard-earned money. New CAFS pumper currently are $350k to $400k. As a community, we know this will soon be in our arsenal of tools that will help protect the residents of Buffalo Gap and surrounding communities.

Hyperlinks: Compressed Air Foam System (CAFD)
5 Ways CAFS can help you

Comment Comment 2 Comment(s)

Cathy Parker August 30, 2018 at 6:44 PM
Great article, very informative!! I will definitely donate to the BGVFD. THANK YOU ALL for your heroic efforts! GOD BLESS!!!

Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department August 30, 2018 at 8:34 PM

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Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department
709 Litel St.
Buffalo Gap, TX 79508
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