House and Home

Firefighting begins with foam plans for some homeowners before flames arrive

Local company serving 14 states with their system

Foaming system can save homes in a fire

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The modern day fire fight when a structure is threatened by flames can, in some cases, start with a foaming system.

It's been proven to save homes even when direct flames come through fanned by strong winds.

The locally based Foamsafe system from Consumer Fire Products was demonstrated on West Camino Cielo in an area prone to wild fires.

Company owner Irene Rhodes says the nozzles around the house are hardly detectable but their positions are exact when it comes to vulnerable areas. 

That includes near wooden garage doors, patio overhangs and entrances where hot, burning embers can collect.

If you look closely in some of the trees, the system has been installed high above the ground to spray oaks and other large trees that could create a shower of sparks around the property.

Rhodes says some insurance companies have discounts for owners who have fire protection systems in place.

There are also other choices for a homeowner including a gel product. Rhodes says her system is capable of activation every six to eight hours for a three day period.  

It can be turned on by an on site sensor, manually or remote control. No one needs to be home.  "It's fully automatic," says Rhodes. "it will automatically start blowing foam, all over the building, the roof top, the vegetation surrounding. It can create a fire break for any direct flames."

The control system is battery powered and comes with a solar panel.

The local fire agencies can also be alerted to homes with the foam systems to help them in their priority attacks when they arrive on a burning street. Rhodes says it will be part of a "pre planning" report for the fire crews that work in the area.

Supporting the system is a pumper truck with the foam product that can be shot into trees and over landscaping at a force similar to what a fire truck would bring in.

Some of the systems are on large scale houses and others are on rural buildings in the forest.  Different plans are represented depending on the needs and budget of the homeowner.

Consumer Fire Products is based in Goleta and is serving clients in 14 western states.

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