Task Force Tips - FAQs Task Force Tips Fire Fighting Equipment Nozzles, Monitors, Piercing Nozzles, Manifold, Ball Intake Valves, PRO/pak, Blitzfire and Suction Hose
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This FAQ section contains some of the most frequently asked questions regarding our products and other related information. The FAQ's have been split into categories. Just click on the FAQ category to see the questions/answers.

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1 What is the difference between Class A and Class B foam?
Answer:  Class A foam is for Class A materials which is wood, paper, brush, all common combustables. Class B foam is for petro chemical fires, gasoline, oil, crude, jet fuel, etc. There are many TYPES of Class B foams and the user must be carefull to use the correct Class B foam for the petrochemical that is involved. There is a detailed discussion of Class A foam in the TFT library under Maintenance and Instruction Manuals Class A Foam Awareness & Operation - Part I and Class A Foam Awareness & Operation - Part II.
2 Can I use a standard foam eductor with Class A foam? (3% and 6% settings)
Answer:  Yes you CAN but it will induct a LOT more foam than is needed. Class A foams are typically used at percentages of less than 1%. If a standard eductor is used you will use 3 to 6 times more foam which will not work any better and will cost more. Modifications are currently available from some eductor manufacturerss that allow for a fixed 0.5% setting. As long as all requirements are met for use of the eductor as outlined in the manufacturer's information, the use of Class A foam can be accomplished. Howver, the the low percentage operations that are possible with the TFT PRO/portioner will not be possible with any type of eductor.

More information on this operation is available in the Class A foam workbook. There is a detailed discussion of Class A foam in the TFT library under Maintenance and Instruction Manuals Class A Foam Awareness & Operation - Part I and Class A Foam Awareness & Operation - Part II.

3 Are "Class A" foams the same products wildfire agencies have been using for years under the name "wildland foam"?
Answer:  The current generation of U.S. Department of Agriculture approved "Class A" foaming agents are highly developed versions of foaming agents used for years in helicopter and ground attack applications NFPA places these foams under their "Standard 298", Foam Chemicals for Wildland Control.
4 Are "Class A" foams the same as wetting agents, like the old Fire-Out?
Answer:  No, "Class A" foams, though similar to wetting agents, are true foaming concentrates. They may be proportioned and applied in aspirated form to create a thick white, long lasting protective blanket, or in unaspirated form, as a water wetting and penetrating agent. By the choice of concentrate proportion ratio and nozzle model, a wide variety of foam consistencies may be achieved for different applications.
5 Can "Class A" foams be applied on flammable liquid fires?
Answer:  No, AFFF and protein base foams are designed specifically for use on different types of flammable, "Class B" fires and vapor suppression, and have received approval from Underwriters Laboratories for these applications. "Class A" foams, on the other hand, are designed to work on materials of "Class A" composition that exhibit deep seated burning characteristics. "Class A" foam applications have been proven to be extremely effective not only in the suppression of wood, paper, fabric, tire, and plastic fires, but also in exposure protection for wildland control.
6 With renewed environmental awareness of materials we use, can "Class A" foams be routinely applied?
Answer:  Definitely. When using "Class A" foam, demand only one that has received final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through environmental testing submitted to the Intermountain Fire Science Laboratory in Missoula, MT, and the San Dimas Technology Center in San Dimas, CA. Copies of "Interim Requirements for Foam for Wildland Fires, Aircraft, and Ground Application", testing procedures, and documentation of qualified foaming agents are available through the Laboratory.
7 Since "Class A" foams are true foaming concentrates and have received environmental approvals, could we use these foams as training foams for our firefighters instead of the expensive "Class B" foams we now use?
Answer:  As long as no live fire training is involved, when mixed in ratios of 1% or less, the "Class A" concentrates offer a very cost effective, environmentally tested product to familiarize firefighters with foam injection systems, application equipment, and vapor suppression extinguishment techniques.
8 Our department has no water supply problems. Why would we want to use "Class A" foam agents on our everyday structural attacks?
Answer:  Use of "Class A" foam concentrates allows you one more tool to accomplish your job more safely and quickly. Determined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Center for Fire Research in Maryland, and the Bureau of Land Management Foam Projects, "Class A" foaming agents, by modifying the surface tension of the water, increase the solution’s ability to penetrate and suppress fire by 3 to 5 times. Aerated foam will cling to and blanket "Class A" fuels, insulate exposures from radiant heat, and provide water penetration on hard to reach deep seated fire.
9 Is the injection ratio the same for "Class A" foams as for AFFF and protein type foams of 3% and 6%?
Answer:  No, mixing ratios with "Class A" foams may be varied depending on the method of application or specific need, but typically the "Class A" foam concentrates mix at a rate of 0.3% to 0.6%. It is quickly noted that this is about 1/10 the rate at which "Class B" type foams must be applied. This fact shows that the logistics and economics of applying these concentrates is a very cost and manpower effective tool. Unlike the AFFF and protein type foams, which have a specific application injection ratio, the "Class A" foam may be varied depending on the rate desired. (Concentrate injection examples...0.1% to 0.3% as a wetting and penetrating agent, 0.4% to 0.6% as a moderate foaming agent, and 0.7% to 1.0% as a highly foaming agent.)
10 How will we mix this foaming agent for use at our next fire?
Answer:  There are three commonly used methods of getting the foaming agent into the hoseline for application. Tank or batch mixing is one method that is simple, but tends to be messy and expensive, and, because of the foam’s base as a detergent, may increase maintenance of pump seals and packings due to the cleansing activity of the foam solution. Common eductors will also work, but have drawbacks as well. Most eductors require high engine pressures, allow only a limited length of hoselay, and cannot proportion much below 1.0%, thus causing a great deal of concentrate waste. The third, and by far most efficient, is the new generation of discharge side foam injection systems. Tested extensively by the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, these injection systems will be addressed in new NFPA standards. Used as portable units or as fixed units mounted directly on trucks, the systems allow unlimited hoselays, variable engine pressures, a wide range of flows nd nozzles, and accurate concentrate injection metering from 0.1% to 1.0
11 Must specialty or aspirating nozzles be used with "Class A" foams to be effective?
Answer:  No, standard initial attack nozzles, hoselines, and procedures need not be modified in any way to take advantage of the new properties of water that the foam concentrate has provided. Ideally, for specific applications of wildland and exposure protection, an aspirating nozzle is a great asset as it provides expansion ratios up to 12:1 and a much dryer foam blanket. A better possible choice is a new unique series of combination fog/foam nozzles. These nozzles offer the nozzleman the ability to choose the consistency of foam needed, yet provide a wide protective fog pattern for firefighter protection. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has been instrumental in the research and development of nozzles of this type to fill their needs for both structural and wildland firefighting.
12 Should we be concerned about corrosion in tanks, pumps, nozzles, or couplings?
Answer:  There are many "Class A" foams and wetting agents on the market today. Though most act as detergents in water systems by cleaning metal and breaking down lubricants, remember to use only "Class A" concentrates that have received final approval from the U.S. Forest Service. These approvals not only address environmental and safety concerns, but determine the acceptable levels of corrosivity. The U.S.F.S. approves only those concentrates which have acceptably low corrosion rates on mild steel, brass and aluminum.
13 The names CAFS and WEPS are used occasionally in discussion of "Class A" foaming agents. What do these terms refer to?
Answer:  CAFS (compressed air foam systems) and WEPS (water expansion pumping systems) are terms used to describe high energy systems of producing greatly aerated foam. A typical system includes not only a foam injection system and water pumping system, but also an air compressor. When mixed in common ratios of 1cfm of air to 1 gpm of water, these systems can offer increased reach from lower water flows, and a more "shaving cream" type of consistency foam for extended exposure protection and moisture holding ability on "Class A" fuels. The Bureau of Land Management, Boise Interagency Fire Center continues to do extensive research of CAFS units for both wildland and structural attack applications and can offer a wealth of information on design and implementation of a CAFS.
14 What are the possible benefits from the regular use of "Class A" foams
Answer:  In the wildland, burning brush and grass not only are more quickly contained, but the overhaul and mop up time is dramatically reduced. Structurally, faster knockdown times and less water damage are continually being documented by departments all over North America. Tire fires, once potential environmental disasters, can now be contained more easily and more quickly smothered with less hazardous waste water runoff. Other deep seated fires dreaded by fire agencies such as peat moss, dump, and hay/barn fires are being quickly and safely brought under control. The use and application of "Class A" foams is an extremely cost effective tool to help fire suppression professionals deal with ever increasing fire loads and related hazards.
15 Will our TFT automatic nozzles work with the foam eductors on my department? We have 60, 95 & 125 GPM eductors, and want to use the TFT's we use on all of our other attack lines.
Answer:  The simple answer is YES without a doubt they will work. The TFT works at 100 PSI NOZZLE Pressure which is the same pressure that a manual nozzle would be at if pumped correctly. The important thing is to make SURE that the pump pressure is high enough to cover the friction loss of the eductor and the hose and still have 100 PSI left over for the nozzle. To much is FAR better than too little. Pump it UP!! Because the eductor is such a large restriction over pressuring will cause very little additional flow but it will assure that there is enough pressure to open the automatic mechanisim of the TFT
16 How well does the TFT Automatic nozzles work with AFFF/ATC foam eductors? Our foam vendor says we should not use the automatic nozzles when applying AFFF/ATC foam.
Answer:  TFT Nozzles work well with foam eductors. In fact they work perfectly, in our library section there is a document on how to pump to automatic nozzles and eductors, Using Automatic Nozzles w/ Foam Eductors. The whole trick to making an eductor work is to get enough flow through it without excessive pressures. The automatic nozzle will take any excess flow and deliver it without a high nozzle pressure which with a conventional nozzle would translate into excessive eductor discharge pressure. The most common problem with any eductor/nozzle setup is that the pump pressures are usually too LOW. Pump it up and the automatic will size its orfice to pass the eductors rated flow and the eductor will work correctly. Please refer to the document in the library for further information.
17 I have just added MX-FoamJet nozzles (FJ-MX-HM) to my inventory for use with Mid-Matic nozzles. We have FoamPro injection foam systems on all engines. What is a good pump or nozzle pressure for best foam production. We have tried 50 psi,125psi and 150psi pump pressure with 100 feet 1-3/4" hose line flowing 0.5% foam, it looks like 150psi worked best.
Answer:  The foam attachment does not set what pressure should be used. The nozzle maintains 100 PSI thruout its flow range. The pump pressure that you choose will determine the FLOW that is achived. The proportioning system if working correctly should maintain the proper mix. Our book "Guide to Automatic Hydraulics" available in PDF form off the website is a great guide to how to calculate flows from automatic nozzles.
18 Our dept is small and we have one PRO/pak portable foam system. Para 6.4 of the manual is not clear. The instructions are to remove the percentage knob to choose A or B foam and then replace the knob. Is it toward or away from the unit that the active side is located? Once the knob is in place, where is the mark on which to dial the required percentage, i.e.; .1 to 1 or 3 to 6?
Answer:  There is a small pin that stops the knob from turning all the way around. The percentage label that is nearest the pin is the one that is active.
19 Automatic nozzles maintain a constant 700 kpa (100 psi)regardless what the flow rate is. With this in mind, how does one use a standard TFT automatic nozzle with no adaptor for foam application, considering not all foams are applied at that pressure? I recently tried various measures and did not achieve good quality foam via an inline eductor. What was I doing incorrectly.
Answer:  Your question is confusing. Are you having problems with the inline edcuctor picking up the foam concentrate or are you getting the concentrate and are not pleased with the quality of the bubbles that the nozzle is making? What we hear most often is that the eductor is not working and that concentrate is not being picked up. The eductor does not know what nozzle is at the end of the hose. All eductors work correctly with automatic nozzles as well as manual nozzles, in both cases however it must be determine that the rated flow is achieved. In the TFT web site library there is a technical report on pumping eductors with automatic nozzles. I would reccomend down loading that document and following the reccomendations it contains.
20 Do you make the Bubble Cup nozzle in a 2 1/2, 3" or 4" size?
Answer:  No we do not.
21 Does the Pro/Pak Foam Appliance qualify as an ISO foam nozzle?
Answer:  We are not aware of any standard that covers the Pro Pak for ISO
22 We recently had a fire where we used one line with Class A foam and another with Class B foam. Our "Husky" system cannot flow both simultaneously without both foams going through both lines. Does the mixed Class A and B concentrates have an effect on the performance of the class B foam or vice versa?
Answer:  My personal belief is that NO it does not have an affect in the lines, a better place to check this would be with a foam manufacturer. What we have seen however is problems with mixing Class A and Class B in the same tank. The alcohol in the Class A (used to give it a lower freeze point) mixes with the polymers in the Class B foam and forms a nasty nasty glop that has to be cleaned from the tank manually.
23 I read you library article on the use of an TFT automatic nozzle with an in-line foam eductor. Although your theory about back pressure sounds correct you don't address the volume (GPM) aspect of the scenerio. The eductor that my department uses is a 95 GPM eductor. If I use an automatic nozzle couldn't my flows increase beyond 95 GPM, which would cause my mix (3%) to be diluted? I stand behind the TFT product, I just want to make sure i'm clear before I change how we handle foam applications. Thanks...David Decker, Chief Madison Twp F.D.
Answer:  You are correct is assuming that the flow will go up if overpressured. The fact that the losses in an eductor are so extreme makes it very difficult to get a significant amount of extra flow through the eductor. The pump pressures are already higher than people are used to (Which is the reason that there are so many problems) that it is unlikely that they will go much higher and get any significant flow. Where you are inaccurate is in the assumption that it will be diluted. The additional flow will cause additional suction which will pull in additional foam concentrate across the orfice plate. The net affect on the final solution is not detectable. The key is keeping the OUTLET pressure of the eductor in range by keeping the hose short and long.