BPS adds foam truck to fleet

Published 5:45 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

Thanks to a partial grant from the government and a generous donation from Colonial Pipeline, Bainbridge Public Safety has received a new tool that will help them fight fires like never before.

It’s proper name is the Foam Chariot Three, but BPS’ new foam trailer gives Fire Chief Doyle Welch and his fire fighters a new advantage when fighting fires in the city of Bainbridge.

“That is one of the best pieces of equipment we have in our tool box right now,” said Welch. “With us having this capability, one person can come here and hook the trailer up and drive it to the scene and we’re going to bring a big fight to the fire. It’s like having a semi-truck worth of bullets compared to having two or three rounds.”

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In the past, when BPS has needed to fight fires using foam, they had to have fire fighters running back and forth from the scene to their stock of five-gallon drums of foam. The fire fighters would then have to return to the scene, go through the process of opening the drums with a specialized wrench, then getting it to the truck to be used.

The new foam trailer cuts all that away from their tasks. The trailer has three, 300-plus gallon drums of foam on it, which can be infused with the water directly at through the valves on the trailer. The trailer can then shoot a stream of foam 250 feet through the air to fight fires.

If BPS decides to use foam instead of water to fight fires depend on the circumstance. The foam has qualities to it that are beneficial in some situations, while in others saving the foam and using water is a more rational thing to do.

BPS uses different types of foam depending on the situation.

The foam in the trailer has a chemical characteristic where it breaks down the chemicals that make alcohol based substances flammable, which is important for gas fires and things of that nature.

“It helps our firefighting capability extremely well,” said Welch. “You can take this (foam), and you can take a gasoline fire in the parking lot, and I can take this (foam) and spray it down. Then you could take a blow torch to the gas and it will not light.”

BPS also has foam that can seep into the wood that is burning and extinguish fires that way while if they had used water it would have just evaporated away.