Sunday, October 5, 2014

With all the Historic Properties in Oakmont Pa. You think the Fire Dept would have a CAFS system to protect them.

Oakmont Pa located along the beautiful Allegheny river valley in Allegheny County in S.W. Pa is home to many historic property's and homes which date from early 1800's .
While the decline of the steel industry saw the destruction-of many communities in the valley it did not touch Oakmont which has always been an influential community.

So one has to wonder when a 150 year old all wooden historic church was accidentally caught on fire 
 apparently by pavement workers that the Fire Dept did not deploy a CAFS System.
Compressed Air Foam .

It is foam added to water stream which helps to seal out oxygen and snuff out a fire  it works fast 
and is used widely in the protection and fast suppression of wildfires  .
But Urban Fire Depts. have been very slow to deploy it .
Why?  Cost is one reason like many chiefs have told me Water is Free 
Besides they would rather put fancy chrome wheels on the fire truck than buy something of use which is the attitude of too many  fire company's .
But would it not be better to bill a resident a couple hundred dollars than loose there home?  and in the case in Oakmont a historic church while they might not have completely saved it they more than likely would have been able to repair the church instead of having to knock it to the ground and build new.
I have seen CAFS systems in use in the City of Jeanette a city which has seen very hard times yet they have one . I saw it being used in a case of homes very close to each other they quickly deployed their portable unit and stopped the fire from spreading to other houses. instead of losing a whole bock of homes only one home was damaged and is rebuild able.
 There is no excuse why foam is not being used. But the real reason many depts do not want to invest the money in this and other available technology's is because the fire fighters want to slay the fire breathing dragon and be the hero.  Besides foam and other chemicals require too much time to clean and keep maintained is  the reason given by lazy firefighters in some cases yes.
Then again sometimes just plain water properly deployed can be useful also like using a fog nozzle but depts will not do it because it causes steam and people can get steam burns if not careful . In the case of the church turn the nozzle to fog position and shove it in the door to help stop fire spread as the fogging action helps cut oxygen .
But again depts will not do this they want to slay the dragon they want to use straight stream nozzles and nothing else  and the result as you see above another historic structure lost.
You can even use dawn Dish detergent to make cheap foam as well we did it a couple times when I was with Penn hills dept. when we had a hard time getting a fire out on a house boat at a marina in Verona  and a shack in the woods .  The soap again acts as a suffocating agent  sealing out oxygen .
But until you have fire depts willing to deploy new methods and tactics and spending their budgets to try this new technology its going to be slay the dragon and continuing firefighter deaths.

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