Perry F.D. Fights Fire with Smaller Truck, Foam
A 2008 Ford F-350 Crew Cab is the most diverse vehicle in the Perry fire stations garage.
"It's 4-wheel drive capable, it also has a wench on the front of it and you can put four firefighters inside," said Fire Chief Joel Gray.
Everywhere it goes, the truck hauls its own water supply of 250 gallons, a water pump, multiple fire hoses and connections. But the important piece of equipment is the air compressor, which compress 8 gallons of PHOS-CHEK Class A chemical foam concentrate into compressed air foam.
"People have probably seen that in the western part of the country in the national news during the big brush fires because that's where these systems originated from," said Gray.
Gray says the vehicle is primarily a preventive weapon.
"It allows them to put foam on trees, on the sides of buildings, things that haven't burnt yet."
The foam keeps the fire from spreading and is used on more than just house fires. With 6 miles of interstate in the city, the department also uses the truck and foam for vehicle such as big rigs that went ablaze on side of the highway. But it also has an extinguishing value, capable of knocking a fire down much faster than water.
"When you put water on a fire, what you're doing is trying to cool the material which is burning," said Gray. "The foam actually blankets the fire and cuts the oxygen off."
This truck can go where its larger counterparts often can't.
"We'd never take the big firetrucks off the road like that if we don't have to because they are going to get stuck," said Gray.
With the foam system always in tow, fires can be contained even though there may not be a water source present.
"We can take this vehicle up into a large warehouse where a forklift may be on fire and suppress the fire pretty quickly using this truck and the CAF (Compressed Air Foam) system, as opposed to dragging two to three hundred feet of hose into that building."
Chief Gray says the foam system is extremely cost effective. A 5 gallon container cost about $55 dollars. The truck carries 8 gallons of foam concentrate which can create foam equivalent to 2000 gallons of water.
Gray says he plans on adding another CAF truck to his fleet in the near future.