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Old 05 July 2007, 07:15   #1
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Safety - check your fire extinguisher

i am reliably informed that dry powder fire extinguishers can compact and harden when in moving vehicles and boats.....it is best to take them out and give them a shake from time to time....every month or two. otherwise they can harden into a lump and become useless.

also check the dates on yours while you are at it..


hope that helps
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Old 05 July 2007, 07:25   #2
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When I was Fire Officer in one of my previous jobs, on one course I was told that 17% of fire extinguishers that are in test/service dont go off. Hence why the fire brigade prefer people to evacuate instead of tackling fires.

Dry power does settle, so what you say is valid on land or in a car however every rib ive ever been on bounces so much that it would shake the living daylights out of the powder.

Id go for insert gas or foam extingushers as Ive heard that if you use dry powder on an engine and it gets into it, it knackers the engine big time....

Pete

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Old 05 July 2007, 07:38   #3
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I should think catching fire probably knackers an engine big time too!

Seriously, my main concern would be my neck and the boat rather than whether the engine was going to be serviceable afterwards. I did wonder if an AFFF extinguisher might be better for the boat though... partly due to the compaction issue (I have been looking at extinguishers recently as I don't have one...). I may well end up with both, and I need to find a decent strong bucket from somewhere too, as the ones you can buy here are too flimsy to bash around on a RIB.
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Old 05 July 2007, 07:44   #4
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I HATE powder extinguishers with a passion. Once had to recover a genny that had gone up in flames and then put out with powder - the mess has to be seen to be believed. Every metal part corrodes like hell - alternators etc sieze up and if it gets into carbs etc look out. The fire was a minor one that would have burnt out.

The best extinguishers EVER were Halon. Yes yes I know they are illegal because they are supposed to bugger up the ozone layer but a burning car does far more damage. The big advantage is that a small fire in wiring can be put out easily and then you can usually do a temp fix to get yourself home. Did this once in a mates VW camper in the middle of Greece - it would have been a very long walk - we used speaker cable to bypas the burnt bits!!!

As Luxton says AFFF is the way to go. I have bought 2 from Peter Lloyd rallying. Think they were about 25 each. seem quite well made and they have survived getting soaked a few times now.

If you do buy powder the usual trick is to mount them sideways so they don't get compacted so much. Also buy the cheapest ones because they are all plastic - much better on a boat!!!
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Old 05 July 2007, 07:58   #5
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I think open boats pose a problem. Inert gas no good except in an enclosed engine space. Powder better (one would stop the outboard if it was on fire I would think), but wind might still be a problem if fire is elsewhere in boat (spilled fuel?). Foam might be best, but I've never seen a small foam extinguisher. Are they made? All the ones I've seen have been large and heavy for use in buildings and ships.

I've always had dry powder ones and shaken them fairly regularly. Set one off once, old rusty and condemned. They do make a mess.
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Old 05 July 2007, 08:07   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alystra View Post
I think open boats pose a problem. Inert gas no good except in an enclosed engine space. Powder better (one would stop the outboard if it was on fire I would think), but wind might still be a problem if fire is elsewhere in boat (spilled fuel?). Foam might be best, but I've never seen a small foam extinguisher. Are they made? All the ones I've seen have been large and heavy for use in buildings and ships.

I've always had dry powder ones and shaken them fairly regularly. Set one off once, old rusty and condemned. They do make a mess.
What about a bucket? Plenty of water around...
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Old 05 July 2007, 09:05   #7
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What about a bucket? Plenty of water around...
Damn good point - it works VERY well. I happen to always carry loads of bottles of mineral water around with me in the car. On 2 occasions I have stopped and put out motorbikes on fire.

Only trouble with a bucket is that it will probably be full of fish or worse when you really need it.........
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Old 05 July 2007, 09:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alystra View Post
I think open boats pose a problem. Inert gas no good except in an enclosed engine space. Powder better (one would stop the outboard if it was on fire I would think), but wind might still be a problem if fire is elsewhere in boat (spilled fuel?). Foam might be best, but I've never seen a small foam extinguisher. Are they made? All the ones I've seen have been large and heavy for use in buildings and ships.

I've always had dry powder ones and shaken them fairly regularly. Set one off once, old rusty and condemned. They do make a mess.

Yes as I mentioned earlier.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2-0LTR-HAND-HE...QQcmdZViewItem

23 Peter Lloyd rallying
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Old 05 July 2007, 13:09   #9
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Yes as I mentioned earlier.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2-0LTR-HAND-HE...QQcmdZViewItem

23 Peter Lloyd rallying

Ah yes, thanks. Think we crossed in the post. AFFF Never use a word when one can use an acronym . Maybe it's a different kind of foam these days. Bucket good idea, but not on burning petrol methinks
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Old 07 July 2007, 10:35   #10
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
I HATE powder extinguishers with a passion. Once had to recover a genny that had gone up in flames and then put out with powder - the mess has to be seen to be believed. Every metal part corrodes like hell - alternators etc sieze up and if it gets into carbs etc look out. The fire was a minor one that would have burnt out.
Assuming you are interested in preserving whatever just caught fire why wouldn't you immediately steam clean it and spray with WD40 or some inhibitor - I assume the powder isn't hard to get off - what is in it anyway, in chemical terms?

I have been looking at ordering some extinguishers for the company vehicle fleet and found 2L AFFF ones for about 35 or so just using Google. 1KG dry powder I found some from just 8! Gonna add a couple on for private use I think...
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