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What fire extinguisher?

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by ffdave » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:43 pm

Greetings,

After hearing about Glaffy's engine fires (see ceramic coating), it's got me thinking about extinguishers!
I dont think that the small pretty chrome ones that jensen kindly supplied clipped to the drivers seat, would be of much use.
I carry a dry powder extinguisher in my own car but whether this is correct I don't honestly know.
So which is best? co2, powder or water?
What do you folks all carry?
Regards, Dave.
Dave Barnett
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by Andy » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:39 pm

I carry CO2 on the basis that water would be little use against fuel or electrical fires (my assumption being that these are what would most likely be encountered). Just my choice though.

Regards

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by Alan Smith » Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:44 pm

Fires are extinguished by either reducing the temperature below the flash point of the combustible or starving the fire of oxygen. Water will reduce the temperature and if it can lie on top of the combustible will also give a barrier to oxygen in the air but with fluid fires it will go underneath a lot of fuels and even spread them. It is also unsuitable for electrical fires because it is a conductor. Powder will reduce the oxygen by smothering the fire but breaks up and can eventually act like a wick. CO2 both replaces the oxygen with an inert gas and because it expands when leaving the extinguisher it also goes cold and cools the combustible. CO2 is cheap but not as effective as some other gases such as BCF and the environment has to be considered, but not when your pride and joy is going up in flames. Also don’t forget to remove the source of any fire like turning off all electrics (possibly disconnecting the battery), stopping the fuel pump and even removing items already alight from all other combustibles.
Cheerio for now, Alan.
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by Patric » Mon Dec 19, 2005 10:38 pm

Those are the exact precautions that I've taken so far: installing a battery cut off swich in the interior (not much use if you've got to pop up the bonnet first) . I'm also installing an impact sensor (Jag Part) to cut off the fuel supply as well. Became necessary because I'm upgrading to fuel injection wich requires an electric fuel pump. I also carry one of these powder extinguishers in the passenger cabin (DO NOT store them in the boot) but I'm not very happy with that. First they create a terrible mess in the engine bay and second they're not as effective as the older halon units. However halon has been outlawed for health concerns and is for that reason unavailable.
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by Glaffy » Sat Dec 24, 2005 11:42 pm

Interesting thread. I was thinking of installing a fire extinguishing system in the engine bay which can be activated from the inside of the car. A company called Safety Devices provides the system and can instal it. The downside is that there are nozzles in the cabin so that the interior as well as the engine itself gets doused, but I am told that it should easily extinguish an engine bay fire in an Interceptor.

I look at this as the absolute last line of defence, i.e. when all the other done to make the car less fire-prone have failed.

Merry xmas to all.
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by Kerry Moore » Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:42 pm

Hi

Only dry powder extinguishers are suitable for all the type of fire you will encounter in a car (or any other situation for that matter), i.e. electrical, fuel, oil, upholstery, paper, metals, etc.

Co2 are ok for electrical and general fires, but not fuel, and oil.

Water is really only for paper, and upholstery, and really should not be used in cars.

The big problem with dry powder is the mess they make, so I carry dry powder for oil, and fuel fire, and Co2 for the rest.

Hope this helps

Kerry Moore

Chubb Fire Corporate Division
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by ffdave » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:55 pm

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for your reply, as your obviously a bloke in the 'know' i have few questions if thats ok.

Q1. Recomended size or weight of extinguisher?. I ask this as i attended a kitcar meeting many years ago in my davrian (i still have it!). One of the cars on display, a saab sonnet, caught light and everybody ran to get their extingushers only to find (myself included) that most of them didn't work!!!. The fire was eventualy put out by a guy with a huge extinguisher from a commercial vehicle.

So Q2 is shelf life!.

Q3. Best names to buy, obviously chubb!!, are any to be avoided or are all extingishers created equal?.

Daft questions possibly, but i'd like to know!.

Thanks in advance,

Dave.
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by Kerry Moore » Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:46 pm

Hi

In reply to Dave's questions, here goes!:

Q1. Size.

A1. Big as you can get in the space you have! Electrical and fuel-oil fires can re-ignite after you have put them out due to the residual heat still in whatever was burning, so you may have to fight the fire again. If you use a very small extinguisher, you may not have enough left to do this.

Q2. Shelf Life

A2. Any standard extinguisher need an annual service (like most cars) to check that everything is operational, and SAFE. An extinguisher is a pressurised container, and any damage internal or external can be VERY serious. Most extinguishers brought from motor factors, etc, are a 5 year life span no maintenance type that are meant to be withdrawn form service after 5 years and replaced.

Q3. Best Type

A3. Look for the British Standard kite mark. If they have this, then they have passed to required standard and should be a reliable, quality item. DO NOT use any extinguisher that does not have the kite mark, or if not the 5 year disposable type, has not had an annual service. A Chubb employee was SEVERELY injured by an out of extinguisher, and for the modest cost of a disposable, and an annual service, it is not worth the risk.

Hope this helps

Kerry
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