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#164210 - 01/21/09 06:10 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: haertig]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2467
And check those batteries ( in the smoke detectors.)



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#176380 - 07/14/09 06:41 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: TeacherRO]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2467
Time to check your fire extinguishers and Smoke detector batteries...

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#176438 - 07/15/09 04:07 AM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: TeacherRO]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Dry-chemical extinguishers are quite messy and the powder is quite difficult to clean up. It can also be corrosive to some metals if moisture is present. Moisture can combine with this powder and form cement-like slurry that is even more difficult to clean up once it dries. The powder is quite fine, comes out at a considerable velocity and floats on air. This later point can be used to advantage by using a short burst into the air to form a heat shield so you can advance and get a better shot. Unfortunately it means if you discharge a fire extinguisher the powder travels considerable distances. A small powder extinguisher was used on a minuscule trash fire in a kitchen. Surfaces over 100' away had to be cleaned.

I have started shifting away from the universal ABC rated extinguishers to AB rated foam extinguishers. It is easier to use, way easier to clean up, noncorrosive, more intuitive to apply effectively because it aims like a low-velocity hose, foam is more effective against class-A fires than powder because it cools the material, and it is at least, if not more, effective against oil based fires because it fills voids and forms a self-sealing blanket over the fuel. It can be used as a prophylactic on fuel spills. The foam is, reading the fine print, rated as safe around electrical gear as long as the voltage is 150v or less to ground. Normal household power is 120v to ground, even the 240v circuits are 120v to ground.

It may not be an appropriate solution for everyone but it made sense for me. Something to consider.

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#176468 - 07/15/09 01:51 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: Art_in_FL]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
I've got extinguishers in a number of places around our house. Each floor has a decent sized ABC - Dry Chemical extinguisher. In our kitchen, there are three cmaller extinguishers and an ABC in the adjoining pantry.

I'd like to pick up a couple decent sized CO2 extinguishers. I know CO2 is not the ideal material with which to try to put out a Class A, but it can work. It is much better suited for putting out Class B or C fires. If you have a pure Class C, CO2 is probably the best type of extinguisher, IMHO. I'd like to put the CO2 extinguishers near my main electrical panels and outside the mechanincal space in my basement.

I've used dry chemical to put out a fire, and it is a nasty mess, as mentioned by Art_in_FL.

It's important to note that there are other methods by which fires can be put out, and sometimes those methods are better. If you have a flaming pot on the stove, a pot lid the fits well should do a great job. If you have a small class A, why not a little water, if something to apply it is conveniently close.

We need to always remember fire requires fuel, oxygen, usually some heat to change the fuel into vapors (only vapors burn) and no interruptions to the chemical reaction of burning. Dry chemical hits that last part. But remove any one of them, and out goes the fire.

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#176533 - 07/15/09 11:26 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: TeacherRO]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 940
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
And check those batteries (in the smoke detectors.)


Several months ago, I had a chirping smoke detector. It was annoying to say the least because the hard-wired detector should not be chirping unless the sensor was gummed up or something. So I reached out to exam the SD and got out my extra power reading glasses to read the very fine print from the ladder.

I checked the model number on the web for a manual. Guess what (aside from the search taking days to find the correct information - even the manufacturer didn't have the manual on line or even list that particular model at all!) The SD has a battery backup in addition to the hard-wired circuit! I did not know that was even necessary but it does make sense - in event of a fire you may also lose your power supply and thus have an inactive SD. It's a bit more expensive than the typical hard-wried unit.

So after much fiddling around I replaced the 9-volt, tested the operations and voila... all's well and I got an education on SDs.

P.S. - also check on your carbon monoxide detector if so equipped near the garage or furnace.

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#176805 - 07/18/09 10:04 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: Roarmeister]
celler Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/25/03
Posts: 410
Loc: Jupiter, FL
My small contribution to this excellent thread: If you can handle a 20 lb. extinguisher instead of a 5 lb. model, get one. You would not believe the difference in range and knock down power of the larger model.

Craig.

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#176834 - 07/19/09 08:22 AM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: celler]
PureSurvival Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/09
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
I am not a fireman but I have been a health and safety, and fire safety officer in the work place for many years and have done a number of fire safety courses with the Fire Brigade.

I am a little worried by people talking about fire extinguishers because the fact is if you own them you are likely to use them instead of getting out of the building. Many people with extinguishers tackle fires that are just too big for the extinguisher to handle and the evidence shows that many more people that stay to fight the fire die than those that just attempt to evacuate.

A fire in the home in most cases is totally unmanageable within 60 seconds. It is not the fire that kills but the smoke and fumes. If you stick around to fight the fire you are breathing in that stuff which is slowly rendering you useless. If you use an extinguisher you are actually increasing the amount of dangerous un-burnt fumes given off by the fire.

A fire extinguisher is great to have for knocking down small fires that have just started but once they are bigger than a waste paper bin fire then it is time to get out.

It is also important to get the correct training to use the type of extinguisher you are using. In most cases you want to attack the source of the fire at its base, but if using foam you need to drop the foam from above so that it smothers the fire.

I have not seen anyone mention fire blankets or even damp tea towels as a tool to knock down fires in the kitchen. Kitchens and their appliances are relatively fire resistant by nature. It is normally fat, oil or food stuff that catches fire. Smother the fire with a fire blanket or damp tea towel is the fastest most efficient way to deal with this sort of fire and it is a damn sight less messy than discharging an extinguisher.

This is UK and European advice which is probably similar in the US. In Europe we have a colour code for each type of extinguisher.

Water Extinguishers (Red)
USE Ė Paper, wood, textiles and solid material fires
DONíT USE Ė Liquid, electrical or metal fires

Powder Extinguishers (Blue)
USE - Liquid, electrical, wood, paper & textile fires
DONíT USE - Metal fires

AFFF Foam Extinguishers (Cream)
USE - Liquid, paper, wood & textile fires
DONíT USE - Electrical or metal fires

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers (Black)
USE - Liquid & Electrical fires
DONíT USE - Metal fires

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#176855 - 07/19/09 03:27 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: PureSurvival]
Roarmeister Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/01
Posts: 940
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
I am a little worried by people talking about fire extinguishers because the fact is if you own them you are likely to use them instead of getting out of the building. Many people with extinguishers tackle fires that are just too big for the extinguisher to handle and the evidence shows that many more people that stay to fight the fire die than those that just attempt to evacuate.

A fire in the home in most cases is totally unmanageable within 60 seconds. It is not the fire that kills but the smoke and fumes. If you stick around to fight the fire you are breathing in that stuff which is slowly rendering you useless. If you use an extinguisher you are actually increasing the amount of dangerous un-burnt fumes given off by the fire.

A fire extinguisher is great to have for knocking down small fires that have just started but once they are bigger than a waste paper bin fire then it is time to get out.


Couldn't agree more. That's the same general "rule" I was taught. (I've been trained on various types of extinguishers all the way to a 1 1/2" hose for handling petrol fires) That size of fire (wastepaper basket) should be able to be put out with a simple 2 lb. fire extinguisher. Having a larger one is OK but having that larger extinguisher might also give someone more confidence that they could put out a larger fire than they really should be trying to handle. An unnoticed smoldering fire in a couch can go to flashover in 5 minutes but the smoke generated can make it very difficult to be in the same room in under a minute.

It is more important to have them close and handy to quickly attack the fire rather than running out to the garage for the big 20 lber and waste 30 seconds. I'd rather have a number of 2-5 lb extinguishers scattered throughout the house.

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#176872 - 07/19/09 06:45 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: PureSurvival]
Jeff_M Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
I am not a fireman but I have been a health and safety, and fire safety officer in the work place for many years and have done a number of fire safety courses with the Fire Brigade.
Just by way of background, I am a professional firefighter, as well as a safety officer, which does NOT make me any sort of expert. But you raise several points, not all of which I entirely agree with or think are supported by the available data.
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
I am a little worried by people talking about fire extinguishers because the fact is if you own them you are likely to use them instead of getting out of the building. Many people with extinguishers tackle fires that are just too big for the extinguisher to handle and the evidence shows that many more people that stay to fight the fire die than those that just attempt to evacuate.

Evacuation is typically the "default" safe option, at least for the evacuee. I'd be interested to see the evidence you are referring to, above, regarding people dying from taking on fires too big for their extinguishers, though. I couldn't find any such evidence in a cursory search.

Fires do kill, and unsuppressed fires kill more readily. On the other hand, fires are much easier to knock down early, and knocked down fires are much less deadly, especially to others who haven't yet or can't evacuate. Think about the potential consequences of a fire in your apartment or condo. Alarm, containment nad suppression is sometimes a better strategy than immediate evacuation. The life you save may NOT be your own.

The point is, it's often worthwhile to try knocking down a fire in it's incipient stage, before it becomes a killer. A portable extinguisher discharges in several seconds to less than a minute, typically. But it can extinguish surprisingly large fires. So it may be well worth taking the time to hit it with the extinguisher first, then evacuate.

Also, sometimes evacuation is just not an option. Consider a fire in a nursing home or aboard a ferry boat, for example. In these circumstances, you will have to rely on the ability of your extinguishers to knock down the fire, because evacuation may not be an option.
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
A fire in the home in most cases is totally unmanageable within 60 seconds.
Sometimes, sometimes not. Fire is somewhat idiosyncratic.
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
It is not the fire that kills but the smoke and fumes. If you stick around to fight the fire you are breathing in that stuff which is slowly rendering you useless.
Or maybe not so slowly. In addition to the lack of oxygen, many products of combustion are toxic, containing things like forms of cyanide.
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
If you use an extinguisher you are actually increasing the amount of dangerous un-burnt fumes given off by the fire.
Doubtful.
Originally Posted By: PureSurvival
A fire extinguisher is great to have for knocking down small fires that have just started but once they are bigger than a waste paper bin fire then it is time to get out.

I'm unaware of any such hard and fast rule. I take your point about getting out safely while you still can, instead of foolishly trying to fight an obviously out of control fire with a puny extinguisher. It is an entirely valid and important point.

But I think it is important, in this survival forum with it's focus on preparedness, not to unintentionally undermine either people's confidence in the effectiveness of portable extinguishers, nor their confidence in their ability to deal with outbreaks of fire before they grow into killers.

So:

Have portable extinguishers. Have enough extinguishers. Have the right types(s) of extinguishers. Know how to use your extinguishers. Have smoke, fire, and CO detectors. Have and practice your fire/evacuation plan.

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#176883 - 07/19/09 08:05 PM Re: No fire extinguisher in your home? Buy one. [Re: Jeff_M]
PureSurvival Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/09
Posts: 149
Loc: UK
Thanks for your comments Jeff, I will get back to you tomorrow.

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