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Godiva CAFS technology impresses at Humberside Fire Trial

Published on 8 July 2009
Humberside Fire & Rescue Service utilising Godiva equipment whilst trialling CAFS firefighting
HFRS firefighters utilising Godiva equipment in a CAFS fire trial
New trial application impresses firefighters

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service recently organised three full scale domestic fire scenes to test the effect of Godiva Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS) on fire investigation procedures, and especially the detection of different types of accelerant.

Three full scale scenes were set in derelict housing to realistically simulate typical domestic fire scenarios and a CAFS-trained fire crew attacked the resulting fires.

From the start Humberside personnel were greatly impressed by the speed of the fire knockdown, Group Manager Stuart Spence commented: "Two of the scenes went to fully developed fires; all those who were present were extremely impressed in the effectiveness of CAFS with its speed of knock down."

CAFS also proved it should not interfere with fire investigation procedures: "CAFS appears not to affect Fire Investigation activities as canine detectors were able to identify the accelerant in all 3 scenes (white spirit, petrol & commercial thinners), scene of crime officers were able to recover debris (awaiting laboratory analysis) and D.I.M portable accelerant units showed detection (to be analysed)."

Watch Manager Dave Lazenby (HFRS Training) stated that he was "very impressed by CAFS in 3 very real situations. The first fire started with white spirit was quite small and didn't develop too much so was simple to extinguish. The second involved petrol, the flames were coming out of the bedroom and licking onto the landing - 4 short bursts and we were then in damping down mode! The fire had reached the roof space slightly, we found the short probe to be very effective for damping down here. We were piercing the plasterboard ceiling with ease."

"The third fire was a living room, this was allowed to burn for quite a while so we had another good job to deal with. Again CAFS knocked it down in no time, and we were just damping down. Including the initial proving of foam outside we used 204 litres of water for this third job (the largest)."

This is CAFS proving its value - a highly creditable endorsement from a fire professional. There are several unique aspects of compressed air foam that make it a winner for the fire fighter:

  • The solution has less surface tension than water or foam/water, allowing it to smother the fire quicker
  • The mixture makes for far lighter hoses - a great advantage for fire fighters, making for more efficient operation
  • The mixture has better projection capabilities allowing fire fighters to keep a safe distance from the fire source
  • Improved water efficiency means less property damage and water run-off

Compressed air foam systems are a speciality of Godiva, who have been perfecting the technology for a number of years and are now recognised as a world leader for this advanced form of fire fighting. This is confirmed by an increasing number of UK fire services taking a CAFS unit on board their main appliances - up to 25% of UK brigades now use Godiva CAFS.

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