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Old 06-23-2016, 04:40 PM   #1
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Fire extinguisher question

Looking for owners experience. Here are the facts. Have a 2004 Mainship 400. Just had USCGA safety check and no issues there. Got to thinking about the two fire-extinguishes in the engine and generator compartments (not part of the safety check). Pulled them out of the boat and noticed they are halon type and were made in 2003. Took them to a nearby Fire Safety Equipment Company to be checked out. Employee says halon is declared dangerous and cannot be serviced or replaced. Fine, lets replace them with up-to-date equivalents. $1843 and change plus tax EACH!!! I don't think so. My gauges still show in the green and the bottles are going back on the boat. Anyone else had to replace these or found a better solution?
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:52 PM   #2
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What size do you currently have and what size and type was the quote for?
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #3
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Automatic Sea-Fire 1301, Model 500A Automatic, 15 lbs. (OK, 14 lbs. 12 oz. originally). Good for 500 cu ft. Didn't even ask about the replacement component. Could be gold dust for that price.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ColonyCove View Post
Pulled them out of the boat and noticed they are halon type and were made in 2003. Took them to a nearby Fire Safety Equipment Company to be checked out. Employee says halon is declared dangerous and cannot be serviced or replaced.

Doesn't mean you have to do anything. If they weigh properly, and if all the ancillary sensing and automatic/manual releasing components are in good working order (you CAN service all that), you've probably got an OK system.

FWIW, we just have ours periodically weighed and certified by our fire extinguisher guys... all good.

-Chris
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:14 PM   #5
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Why Halon Fire Suppression Systems Were Banned

Why Halon Fire Suppression Systems Were Banned - Facilities Management Fire Safety Feature

and

Halon Replacements: Inert Gas, Clean Agents And Water Mist Systems - Facilities Management Fire Safety Feature
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Old 06-23-2016, 08:49 PM   #6
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They can not be refilled due to the halon, but if they are within the weight specified then they are good to go assuming the dash indicators are also good. If they discharge, then you have to replace them with the new version. You do not have to take tem out of service if they check ok.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:14 PM   #7
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They can not be refilled due to the halon, but if they are within the weight specified then they are good to go assuming the dash indicators are also good. If they discharge, then you have to replace them with the new version. You do not have to take tem out of service if they check ok.
I agree
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:06 PM   #8
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I also agree.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:37 AM   #9
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If they discharge, then you have to replace them with the new version. You do not have to take tem out of service if they check ok.
I have the same issue with an older halon system I plan to get checked out. Is there any regulation requiring an automatic suppression system in the ER? Why are the replacements quoted to CC so expensive . . . the "marine surtax?"
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:46 AM   #10
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Where do you travel ? I had my Halons serviced and refilled a year ago in the Dominican Republic. Three 15 # costs about $87.00.
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:00 PM   #11
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Not to hijack...but what about the "other" type of extinguishers. Do they need to be serviced periodically or are they good to go as long as they weigh in on spec and are in good condition and in the green?
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:57 PM   #12
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The "other" types of fire extinguishers (the ones the Coast Guard does check) have to be of sufficient quantity for your size boat. My 40 footer needs two. In the past they have looked at the gauge, but in the last year or two something new has been added. They will turn your bottle upside down and note the two digit number stamped thereon. It denotes the year the extinguisher was manufactured. If it is more than ten years old, your unit fails, even if your gauge still shows in the green. I bought two new ones this year showing "15" on the bottom, so I'm good until 2026. Now your extinguishers are subject to expiration, much like your flares. If you have not had an annual safety check, you may wish to have a look at these on your own to prevent a boarding failure.

Back to the point of my opening post here, I am still hoping to find a cost-effective alternative to now-obsolete halon extinguishers mounted in engine and generator compartments below deck.
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:40 AM   #13
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In the past they have looked at the gauge, but in the last year or two something new has been added. They will turn your bottle upside down and note the two digit number stamped thereon. It denotes the year the extinguisher was manufactured. If it is more than ten years old, your unit fails, even if your gauge still shows in the green. I bought two new ones this year showing "15" on the bottom, so I'm good until 2026. Now your extinguishers are subject to expiration, much like your flares. If you have not had an annual safety check, you may wish to have a look at these on your own to prevent a boarding failure.
A little more information would be helpful. I believe what you're referring to is the date of manufacturer of the cylinder. Pressure cylinders such as fire extinguishers are required to be retested every so many years (depending on the specific type of cylinder ). Did they tell you:
It wasn't cost effective to retest the cylinder?
They don't do retesting?
The cylinder could be retested by design?

In the USA almost all extinguishers are able to be retested (cheaper than replacement ). The very inexpensive may not be cost effective to retest. I'm curious why yours wasn't retested? What was the replacement cost?

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Old 06-25-2016, 07:33 AM   #14
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Back to your point: HFC-227 ea is a potential replacement for the halon in enclosed spaces/engine room/generator/ electrical I believe that "fireboy" has a fixed system being marketed. As far as your question concerning "cost effective" that is somewhat subjective, if it works and saves your boat and/or your engine space, I am sure it is cost effective. If it just sits on the wall and looks good, requires regulated maintenance you will probably never realize any cost effectiveness in the product. I hope you would never use it.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:46 AM   #15
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A little more information would be helpful. I believe what you're referring to is the date of manufacturer of the cylinder. Pressure cylinders such as fire extinguishers are required to be retested every so many years (depending on the specific type of cylinder )....
Ted
Here's what I have on non-rechargeable extinguishers. It says you can self inspect, need to document and they re good for 12 years from the date of manufacture if the inspections are all good. Here's part of the text with the rest in the attachment.

What does maintenance of a non-rechargeable extinguisher entail?


The following items should be included in the annual maintenance of non-rechargeable portable extinguishers:
1. Verify that 12 years has not lapsed from the manufacture date marked on the extinguisher.
2. Check that the pressure gage or pressure indicator is in the operable range. If there is no gage or indicator, verify the weight or fullness of the unit.
3. Verify there is no physical damage to the extinguisher, discharge hose (if provided) and bracket.
4. Check for missing or broken safety seals or tamper indicators.
5. Examine the extinguisher for obvious signs of corrosion, leakage or clogged discharge nozzle.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Fire Extinguisher Inspection and Maintenance FAQ.pdf (15.1 KB, 17 views)
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:45 PM   #16
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I have a couple that fall into that category, but have recent hydrostatic test certifications on them...I'm thinking that resets the 12-year clock(?)

-Vic

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Here's what I have on non-rechargeable extinguishers. It says you can self inspect, need to document and they re good for 12 years from the date of manufacture if the inspections are all good. Here's part of the text with the rest in the attachment.
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:57 PM   #17
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Here's what I have on non-rechargeable extinguishers. It says you can self inspect, need to document and they re good for 12 years from the date of manufacture if the inspections are all good. Here's part of the text with the rest in the attachment.

What does maintenance of a non-rechargeable extinguisher entail?


The following items should be included in the annual maintenance of non-rechargeable portable extinguishers:
1. Verify that 12 years has not lapsed from the manufacture date marked on the extinguisher.
2. Check that the pressure gage or pressure indicator is in the operable range. If there is no gage or indicator, verify the weight or fullness of the unit.
3. Verify there is no physical damage to the extinguisher, discharge hose (if provided) and bracket.
4. Check for missing or broken safety seals or tamper indicators.
5. Examine the extinguisher for obvious signs of corrosion, leakage or clogged discharge nozzle.

The one thing that is confusing to me is that the USCG requires that the extinguishers be annually inspected. That means that you have to do what you have outlined above, but how to demonstrate that you have? I started just writing the date of inspection (i.e. When I last looked at the gauge, checked the date, and gave it a good shake) right on the bottle with a sharpee.
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:04 PM   #18
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Most fire inspection facilities will attach a card to the device -- After checking the gauge & whacking the bottom with a rubber mallet, I just note the annual inspection on the card. I think I'm covered...

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The one thing that is confusing to me is that the USCG requires that the extinguishers be annually inspected. That means that you have to do what you have outlined above, but how to demonstrate that you have? I started just writing the date of inspection (i.e. When I last looked at the gauge, checked the date, and gave it a good shake) right on the bottle with a sharpee.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:08 PM   #19
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I was CG boarded in May and by a four man boarding team.

Boat registration
My Drivers license. (State boat operators permit was not acceptable as ID)
Honked horn
Checked expiration on flare gun shells

Physically examined one extinguisher, never looked at expiration on bottom, checked gauge on one other extinguisher without removing from holder.
Looked at binder I keep the inspection logs in and noted the date of last inspection was written in felt tip on top of extinguishers.

Examined one bag of four pfd's.
Examined Type IV throwable
checked Bell, but then mentioned it wasn't required anyway.
Asked me to explain and demonstrate pump over lockout switch for Type II Micropher sanitation system.
Noted that a copy of COLREG's were present
Trash handling decal and oil discharge plaque present.

Asked me the last time I had taken any boating safety training and who offered it and if anyone else on the vessel was qualified to operate the vessel. (Don't know if that was for his information or they were doing a survey. All he said was "good, thank you")

That was pretty much it
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