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Old 12-20-2015, 01:07 PM   #1
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Fire Extinguishers

Searched and found nothing on TF.
Shopping to replace old extinguishers.
BC vs ABC ratings.
ABC--The "A", as I understand it, helps prevent re-ignition of hot materials.

If I ever need one my first thought is I Want the Fire OUT!!
But if fire is successfully extinguished there will be a clean up and dry chemical leaves various difficult residues.
CO2 is rated B-C
Halon is also B-C but at one site acquires an "A" rating if have larger than 9 lbs.

Dry chemical are less expensive.

Appreciate any discussion as to types people are using--was considering Halon or CO2 in engine room and pilot house where there are a lot of wires, electrical, etc and the less expensive A-B-C Dry chemical in other places
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:25 PM   #2
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My understanding of the ratings is that an A designation means it works on things like burning wood or paper. B is for burning liquid. C means it won't conduct electricity. I think burning plastic and fiberglass acts like burning liquid.
I carry two ABC dry chem and one Halon. A bucket of water can be very effective as well.
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
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Unless the chemicals have been changed, the old ABCs were a mess to clean up when used on a hot engine...they tended to crust over where just an BC you can vacuum/blow off.

I m a HUGE believer in foam if you can get it for bilge fires.


Have what the USCG requires...but add good stuff on top.
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:43 PM   #4
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Psneeld, I really like the idea of foam for use on a boat but the smallest foam extinguisher I can find is really too big. Kidde used to make a nice one but I can't find it anymore. Do you know of anyone who makes a small one?
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
Psneeld, I really like the idea of foam for use on a boat but the smallest foam extinguisher I can find is really too big. Kidde used to make a nice one but I can't find it anymore. Do you know of anyone who makes a small one?
Unfortunately no...I had one that I got from a big box store...but that was 10 years ago and a different home/boat.

Guess you could always make a fire hose system with a decent nozzle and foam injection system (inductor)...yeah....nothing like another complicated project I need to tackle....

haven't really searched the web...gotta be something out there...
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Psneeld, I really like the idea of foam for use on a boat but the smallest foam extinguisher I can find is really too big. Kidde used to make a nice one but I can't find it anymore. Do you know of anyone who makes a small one?
I used to like those Kidde foam extinguisher. But I guess they stopped making them.
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:09 PM   #7
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After posting above I searched again and saw some aerosol can types and some nice looking ones in the UK, but nothing in the US that I thought suitable.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #8
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Every other year I have a fire extinguisher company come and check, recharge, or replace them. There is a minimum required and type depending on the boat. So make sure you have the number and type.
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:05 PM   #9
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I have a single 5lb. foam unit that must be 20 years old and still reads charged. All nine others are chemical, including the ER fire suppression system and a 20 lb. extra. I'd really like to pay the extra for small foam extinguishers and avoid that mess, but......
With a little imagination, Hopcar could offer us something...
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Old 12-20-2015, 09:24 PM   #10
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I used to like those Kidde foam extinguisher. But I guess they stopped making them.
Get a 2 1/2 Gallon Pressure Water Extinguisher, sometimes called a water can. You can pick one up for around $100 or so. The one with the fancy foam nozzle is around $175. Charge it with a compressor. We carry one at work that is loaded with AFFF.

Ironically enough we had a boat fire call this morning. It wasn't much, but a backfire on a Sea Ray set the engine hatch insulation smoldering, making a bunch of smoke. The owner set off two dry chemical extinguishers. What a mess. That powder was EVERYWHERE! Including all over the interior. Both engines were completely coated. Even if it didn't wreck the engines, they're in for a huge cleaning bill.

It came in with no other location than the name of the marina where I keep the trawler. A brief few seconds of panic that it was my boat, but I can see it from the app bay, and since I didn't see any smoke I figured I was ok.

A CO2 extinguisher would be a nice addition, but they're expensive to buy and service. The PW extinguisher can be refilled by the user. Making foam is as easy as pouring some concentrate in while filling.

Search for "Amerex"
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:41 PM   #11
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I remember seeing carbon tetra chloride grenades. These were glass balls filled with carbon tetra chloride that you would throw into the fire where the glass would break, the CTC would evaporate releasing a fire extinguishing vapor.

I have a pretty brass hand pumped CTC extinguisher in my collection of nautical antiques.

I think that CTC was very effective at putting out fires but was also effective at putting out humans.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:22 AM   #12
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Pressure water extinguishers are great. But they are a bit bulky for some applications.

The Kiddies were about half the size.
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:59 AM   #13
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I guess most liquid fuel based fires would be located...at least started... in the engine room.


If really concerned about fire...a length of PVC with a couple suppression nozzles mounted...connected to the pressure fresh water system and plumbed with a siphoning pickup from a small container of foam would be sufficient...throw a ball valve and instant operation. The main idea is to smother the burning liquid that is transferring the flame front throughout the boat.


Back to the OPs question directly...most people just use the standard marine dry chem. BC for engine room area and ABC for galley and staterooms....going back to what I said about ABCs harder to clean off hot metal that is otherwise undamaged.


Some will have the "new halon" engine room auto system...but should be more than just installing the bottle as shutting down the engine and closing air intakes become important in some situations.
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Old 12-21-2015, 07:26 AM   #14
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CO2 , big and heavy , but effective and NO clean up.
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Old 12-21-2015, 10:05 AM   #15
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CO2 , big and heavy , but effective and NO clean up.
Yes but not effective in all types of fire. They are B-C rated only.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:05 PM   #16
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Not sure I would choose a FE based on how easy it is to clean up. I was a USAF Fire Fighter and in my mind the mess on your hands if the extinguisher did not work or allowed a re-flash of the fire just as you ran out of agent would be more worrisome.

The requirements regarding FE's via the USCG are IMO the bare minimum and should be at least doubled and a Halon flood system with auto engine/blower shut off with a manual (pull cable backup) shut off be standard equipment like found on inspected boats.

I also like a remote fuel shutoff if this can be added. The Halon system should not reduce the handheld units on board.

A CO2 unit is very tricky to use without practice and has no holding power or even real cooling effect and can be rendered useless in any stiff breeze. I do not own one and don't recommend them, they are best in an enclosed area electrical fire if the power is shut off and expensive equipment is involved.

Boat fires suck and suck fast.

Be safe.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:41 PM   #17
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I was once on a boat that had a very small fire in the engine compartment. There was an electrical component on the side of the engine that overheated and started dripping burning liquid into the bilge. Two dry chem FE were discharged onto it. The fire went out then flashed back, twice. The engine had been shut down and the battery disconnected. We were about to unleash a very large and expensive halon FE on it when the owner grabbed a pot of water from the galley and ended the fight.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I was once on a boat that had a very small fire in the engine compartment. There was an electrical component on the side of the engine that overheated and started dripping burning liquid into the bilge. Two dry chem FE were discharged onto it. The fire went out then flashed back, twice. The engine had been shut down and the battery disconnected. We were about to unleash a very large and expensive halon FE on it when the owner grabbed a pot of water from the galley and ended the fight.
A good old wet, wool Army blanker is an amazing fire fighting tool. But there are better fire blankets. The trick is to employ early or getting close enough it a trick.


While I am undecided about engine room halon like systems...I am a firm believer in no auto shutdown unless it has a warning with an override.


If I think I might need the engine in the near future...I may want to fight the fire while using the engine rather than sweat getting it started at a critical moment. Maybe it is from my flying days when pilots made most of the decisions...not sensors. While not a caveman, some systems just aren't up to being in command yet.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:51 PM   #19
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Since many of us on this thread would like to have a small foam FE, I wonder if we could take Questionmark's idea and adapt it to a five pound dry chem FE?
Take out the powder, fill it 2/3 full of water and AFFF, then repressuriize it.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:21 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=HopCar;397581]Since many of us on this thread would like to have a small foam FE, /QUOTE]

Parks
Maybe this will fill the bill.
Small (~2lb) AFFF disposable units

Also slightly larger Amerex foam units - Note these are A-B only

Never saw these before and didn't know they existed but look interesting
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