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Foam: 10 reasons it’s not used

FireRescue1 readers have their say why foam systems are not used in their departments to fight fire

Despite how long it has been in the firefighting arsenal and despite evidence showing it knocks down fire faster and keeps firefighters safer, the use of foam has not won full support. So we put it to FireRescue1 readers and asked for the number-one reason their departments do not use foam. The hands-down top answer was cost; training came in a close second.

Below are some of the more interesting reasons fire departments veer away from foam. Not seeing your department’s reason for not using it? Leave a comment below.

1.“Environmental issues like clogging up drains and animals.” — Mark Southworth

2.“If your mutual aid departments do not use foam, then it does not make a whole lot of sense to use it. If you are using foam and the second due is not, you are washing your money away. CAFS is not only expensive to purchase but also to maintain. If you are using foam and I am using water, then I can put a fire out just as fast and have less mop up and clean up at the end of an incident. If you are using it because you do not have an adequate water supply, then I can see the good in that.” — Rick Pumphrey

3.“If it’s not used weekly, our CAFS system gums up and causes more maintenance issues.” — Mike Dunham

4.“It requires a ton of training that volunteer fire departments don’t have money for.” — Nick Flagg

5.“Shelf life and cost. We keep enough on hand to satisfy ISO requirements. We do use it for hydrocarbon fires, not structure fires though.” — Rick Cozad

6.“Ignorance.” — Jeremy Flanagan

7.“Training is the biggest problem. CAFS is an amazing tool if you are competent with it. With a volunteer department having the time to not only have hands on with either CAFS it or injectors, but also discuss the proper indications for it is always a problem. Money should never be a deciding factor to not use a tool that can save a life.” — Brandon Matlock

8. “My department is worried about the environmental impact.” — Mick Bell

9.“Because untrained personnel will come right behind you with a straight water line and spray off all the foam that had just blanketed an entire area.” — David Lee Weyant

10. “Money, money, and lack of money is why we don’t use much foam.” — Steve Tofanelli