Most firefighters do not get an opportunity to participate in many foam hoseline operations during their careers. Unless you are detailed to an airport or have occupancies in your first-due area containing hazardous materials for which foam is a good extinguishing agent, you may get a chance to put a foam line in service once a year or once every two years. This week’s drill offers an opportunity for apparatus operators and crew members to reacquaint themselves with this operation, because when the IC calls for a foam line, everything has to work.
Materials required for the class are five-gallon containers of foam, training foam, detergent or homemade simulated foam, an eductor, and a hose. Training with firefighting foam is ideal, but this can be expensive. Training foam or pails of detergent will simulate foam effectively. Mixing a bottle of dishwashing detergent and a box of children’s bubble bath in a five-gallon container of water is also effective. Note that some foams and detergents are not environmentally friendly, so ensure you know where the runoff is going.
To run the drill, review application rates and have the members calculate the area that can be foamed effectively with the supplies carried on first-responding units. Determine these areas for both hydrocarbon and polar solvent fuels. Have members lay out a supply line (or establish a draft), set up a foam line, and foam a designated area. Use a checklist like the one Howard A. Chatterton provides in Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills to evaluate their performance.
Don’t forget your apparatus operators. It’s important for them to know the percentage of foam your department uses for foam operations as well as the pressure required to reach the desired gallonage. Knowledge of hydraulics comes into play as the length of the hoseline you’re using will also be a determining factor in obtaining the correct pressure.
If possible, run an evolution using the foam in the storage tank on the department’s apparatus. If your company has a preconnected line that can be used as a foam line with a foam supply from a storage tank on the truck, a certain sequence of actions must take place to put that foam line in service.
At the drill’s conclusion, go over your evaluation checklist. Note the actions that were performed well and those that needed improvement. Go through the calculations for foam application. Be sure each member knows how much area can be foamed with the equipment and foam supply carried on each apparatus. Be sure that each member knows he should wait until adequate foam supplies are on hand before beginning a foam operation. Clean all the equipment.
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For more information on this drill, including a list of references, figures, and a sample SOP, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills–A Year of Weekly Drills.