Potential Reduction of Firefighter Exposure to Carbon-Based Carcinogens in Structure Fires Through the Use of Class A Compressed Air Foam Systems [open pdf - 4MB]
"The Amboy Fire Protection District (AFPD) has policies in place to help reduce the exposure effects of toxic byproducts of combustion on its fire-suppression personnel. These policies are all post fire-suppression/loss-control operation efforts. The washing of Personal Protective Equipment and personal clothing upon returning to the station provides a reduced exposure to known or suspected carcinogenic hydrocarbons. The problem is that these policies have limitations in their effectiveness. The need is to explore an alternative way 10 potentially reduce the carcinogenic byproduct levels during fire-suppression operations as compared to water only. The purpose of this research was to determine whether Class A Compressed Air Foam System could potentially reduce the presence of carcinogens in residential-structure lire atmospheres. The descriptive research methodology was followed to answer five research questions: (a) what arc the cancer-causing carbon-based byproducts of combustion?, (b) what arc the chemical and/or physical properties of Class A foam when used in conjunction with CAFS operations which could potentially reduce the presence of cancer-causing byproducts of combustion?, (c) do Class A CAFS operations reduce the presence of carcinogenic byproducts of combustion?, (d) what arc the results of using different brands of Class A foam through CAFS application in the reduction of the presence of cancer-causing carbon-based byproducts of combustion?, ( e) what estimated cost would be incurred by the AFPD to retrofit the department's two lire engines with a CAFS, in comparison to the estimated cost associated with the treatment of firelighters with duty-related cancer?"
U.S. Fire Administration. National Fire Academy: https://nfa.usfa.fema.gov/