IFJ and F&R announce partnership with ICAFA

Published:  27 July, 2010

Industrial Fire Journal and Fire and Rescue magazine will be promoting the correct use of CAFS (Compressed Air Foam Systems) by supporting ICAFA. From now on readers will see regular updates and features on this organisation and new developments in CAFS technology on the website and in the print versions.

Whilst undertaking a research project into the use of Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS) in 2002, Chris Large (Former Deputy Chief Fire Officer of East Sussex, England) travelled to Germany and the USA.  He rode with crews and witnessed the systems being used at first hand.  He was instrumental in starting a User Group of CAFS users within the UK under the banner of the Chief Fire Officers Association. He has spoken at numerous conferences around the world and identified the need to move thinking forward not just within the UK, but globally.  He has been instrumental in forming The International Compressed Air Foam Association (ICAFA) to promote the innovative use of compressed air foam technology through political lobbying, public education and media promotion.   

 Key to the vision of the organisation is that it should have an independent perspective and be a body that is user driven, dedicated to making compressed air foam the international standard in fire control and extinguishing. ICAFA would bring the following groups together into one forum:  System Manufacturers, Equipment Manufacturers, Distributors, Users and Researchers.

 Water has been the traditional medium used for extinguishing fires for centuries as it is readily available, cheap and easy to handle.  However, the design and construction of buildings, and the materials used in furnishing them, are constantly changing.  No doubt this trend will continue and therefore it is probable that changes will be required in the type of extinguishing media used on fires in these buildings in the future.  This will result in changes to firefighting tactics so that the amount of water or other medium used to extinguish a fire is reduced.  The resultant reduction in the exposure time that firefighters are subjected to will maximise their health and safety whilst minimising the environmental impact of operations.

Because of this increased focus on safety and the environment, many believe that the introduction of Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS) is the solution and this therefore justifies the worth of further investment in the use of the systems. Current research results, in particular the Promesis project made public at the Interflam 2010 conference in July, are really challenging current thinking as to the best tactics to use in fire situations.  This research clearly demonstrates that the most effective way of reducing temperatures within a compartment fire is to use CAFS, and that traditional water spray tactics could actually be making the environment more hazardous for firefighters.

The theory/practice divide is an area that ICAFA will be focused upon and this will produce extremely relevant results that are of value in assisting to convince others that CAFS is the medium they should be using.

 ICAFA will seek to promote the wider use of compressed air foam to control and extinguish fires by promoting the adoption of standards and codes of practice in the design, manufacturing and testing of compressed air foam systems and components of them and materials used in them; and will promote the adoption of procedures for training and testing the proficiency of personnel engaged in the design, installation, inspection and usage of compressed air foam systems.

 To become a member of ICAFA simply contact Chris by e-mail (chrislarge@icafa.org) and he will be pleased to forward an application form to you.

  • Operation Florian

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