victorialynn2

Fire extinguishers for shop and cars

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victorialynn2    224

Recently I have realized that it's probably a good idea for me to know a little about fire extinguishers.

Which are best for the garage and to carry in the car?

How do I tell if an older one is still operable? (Dad has several, but no idea how old.)

What do I need to know about how they work and if they will damage paint on cars, etc? 

 

Thanks guys, ~V

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victorialynn2    224
27 minutes ago, Joe in Canada said:

When you buy an extinguisher for the shop do not buy a small one like most do. I have four 20 pounders in my shop seeing I do a fair bit of welding. Read the fellows comment on how it went down.   http://ontariorodders.activeboard.com/t63249367/lost-everything-yesterday/

 

Oh Gosh Joe, that is horrible. So sorry you went through that! I appreciate the great advice!

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capngrog    231

In my 30 X ft. garage I have two 10 lb. dry chemical (ABC) extinguishers and one 10 lb. CO2 (BC) extinguishers.  Be sure to permanently mount these on a wall with prominent markings.  Also make sure that the extinguishers are always accessible and are not used for coat hangers etc.  Although CO2 extinguishers are most effective on burning liquids, they can be used on most things automotive in a direct impingement method.  I like to think that I'd use the CO2 as a first defense and the dry chemical as a last defense against an incipient fire: however, in the event of a real fire, I'm sure I'd panic and use whatever was closest.  The reason for the use of CO2 is that it leaves little or no residue and is great for electrical fires; on the other hand, although very effective, dry chemical extinguishers make a mess and destroy electrical circuitry.  A water mist extinguisher is very effective on most SMALL fires.  The main thing is to have the phone number of the local fire department prominently posted.  Although it requires a level of discipline, it is best to call the fire department before attempting to fight the fire yourself.

 

In your shop (and house) have the largest extinguisher possible, yet one that can be easily handled by the average human being.

 

Remember, the best fire fighting is fire PREVENTION, and a big part of this is common sense and house keeping.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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Joe in Canada    168
1 hour ago, victorialynn2 said:

Oh Gosh Joe, that is horrible. So sorry you went through that! I appreciate the great advice!

That was not me but I do know the fellow lives about 1/2 Hr. north of me.

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GregLaR    227

Not to hijack but, my buddy flies 747 cargo from China to the U.S.  Plenty of times he hauls full loads of lithium ion batteries. The most dangerous cargo they fly. He says if a fire breaks out in the batteries, the ONLY thing that will put it out is a Class D fire extinguisher. Only one problem with that. Class D extinguisher hasn't been invented yet. :lol:

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oily rag    22

If the gauge is in the green you should be OK.

Every year the extinguisher should be turned upside down and and given a good whack to keep the powder loose.

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victorialynn2    224
1 hour ago, oily rag said:

If the gauge is in the green you should be OK.

Every year the extinguisher should be turned upside down and and given a good whack to keep the powder loose.

 

Thank you! A whack? Won't it explode? Side, bottom, top? Sorry I have no experience with fire extinguishers. Appreciate the info. 

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capngrog    231
2 hours ago, oily rag said:

If the gauge is in the green you should be OK.

Every year the extinguisher should be turned upside down and and given a good whack to keep the powder loose.

Oily Rag is absolutely correct due to the fact that over time, gravity prevails and the dry chemical agent will tend to "clump up" at the bottom of the fire extinguisher cylinder.  Although this "clumping" theory is not universally recognized, I think it makes sense, and what harm can an occasional "whack" do?  A "whack" can be administered by the heel of your hand or by a rubber mallet ... use common sense here.  The "whack" should be administered near the bottom of the fire extinguisher cylinder, either on the bottom itself, or on the side near the bottom.  A properly administered "whack" will not cause a fire extinguisher to explode.:P

 

No disrespect intended, Oily Rag, but your type should not be left laying about the garage (or any place else) due to the possibility of spontaneous combustion.  You should be kept in a tightly sealed metal container:o.  Although the risk of spontaneous combustion is pretty low with rags soaked in motor oil, a rag soaked in linseed oil will light off on a hot day if you even just look at it cross-eyed (well, almost:D).

 

Cheers,

Grog

Edited by capngrog
add some information (see edit history)
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victorialynn2    224
8 minutes ago, capngrog said:

Oily Rag is absolutely correct due to the fact that over time, gravity prevails and the dry chemical agent will tend to "clump up" at the bottom of the fire extinguisher cylinder.  A whack can be administered by the heel of your hand or by a rubber mallet ... use common sense here.

 

No disrespect intended, Oily Rag, but your type should not be left laying about the garage (or any place else) due to the possibility of spontaneous combustion.  You should be kept in a tightly sealed metal can:o.  Although the risk of spontaneous combustion is pretty low with rags soaked in motor oil, a rag soaked in linseed oil will light off on a hot day if you even just look at it cross-eyed (well, almost:D).

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

Thanks Grog. I had visions of taking a hammer to the side. LOL A heel of my hand on the bottom makes much more sense! Also, thanks for the tip on the oily rags. ;)

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Digger914    157

Powder can clump, pressure can leak and gages can stick, Along with smacking the old dry powder extinguisher to break up any clumps, they should also be well shaken and the gage should be checked to make sure it's still in the green.

 

For the home, boat and car, the average person can get a lot of years of protection out of the cheapest plastic nozzle dry powder extinguisher if you give them a slap, shake and look every year. At the home store these small plastic nozzle extinguishers can be bought new for less than what it cost to refill a used one and after you've had one long enough it's time to use it and get a new one. Take that thing that's been in the car, or on the wall for the last ten years out to the fire pit and get in a little extinguisher practice. Dry powders are messy, but they don't have to be as messy as they can be. Knowing how to aim and shoot makes a big difference in how much you need to use to get the job done. Of course, if the old extinguisher you practiced with is a quality metal nozzle one, get it refilled and put it back where it came from.

 

CO 2's don't have gages and they can get dangerous when they get old and how fast they get to that point depends on where they are kept. Don't depend on it to work if it's been sitting for years, don't depend on it to work if the pin seal is broken and like your SCUBA and Welding Tanks, they should be checked and refilled by a pro. 

 

 

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victorialynn2    224

Thanks everyone for the very detailed and helpful info. I can always count on you guys to answer my questions thoroughly. 

In fact,  y'all do such a good job that I think I'm going to start asking you for advice on my personal problems too! :D

 

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Jim Bollman    23

What gets dangerous on CO2 extinguishers? When I was finishing cleaning out my Dad's shop a few years ago I saw the old large CO2 extinguisher he had in his shop for as long as I can remember.  He never used it as the only extinguisher but more as a first to grab for small fires when welding and such. Doesn't have a seal just a handle. I use to crack it on too super cool things as a teenager. I cracked it on for old time sake expecting it to be dead and it still worked. I brought it home to supplement my ABC extinguishers that are hanging on the walls much like my Dad did.

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Digger914    157
1 hour ago, Jim Bollman said:

What gets dangerous on CO2 extinguishers? When I was finishing cleaning out my Dad's shop a few years ago I saw the old large CO2 extinguisher he had in his shop for as long as I can remember.  He never used it as the only extinguisher but more as a first to grab for small fires when welding and such. Doesn't have a seal just a handle. I use to crack it on too super cool things as a teenager. I cracked it on for old time sake expecting it to be dead and it still worked. I brought it home to supplement my ABC extinguishers that are hanging on the walls much like my Dad did.

Like any good pressurized gas bottle if you snap it off at the bung is shoots off like a rocket. Steel ones rust, aluminum corrodes and threads can disintegrate over time. How long it takes for a metal bottle to get spooky bad really depends on where it sits.

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Roger Walling    105

 When I am welding I keep a can of spray windshield cleaner on hand.

 It is very effective in putting out very small fires and a good preventive to use after welding if you think you may have a few sparks that could still be hot.

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EmTee    531
20 hours ago, capngrog said:

No disrespect intended, Oily Rag, but your type should not be left laying about the garage (or any place else) due to the possibility of spontaneous combustion

 

Petroleum-based grease and oil does not spontaneously combust.  It's linseed-oil and other wood finishing oils that poses the risk here.  That said, rags saturated with automotive grease and oil will burn with vigor once ignited by a flame from another source.

 

http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infpai/inflinspontaneouscombust.html

 

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padgett    383

In SEA fire extinguishers were a valuable commodity: one extinguisher = one cool six-pack.

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oily rag    22
On 4/8/2017 at 9:42 AM, capngrog said:

Oily Rag is absolutely correct due to the fact that over time, gravity prevails and the dry chemical agent will tend to "clump up" at the bottom of the fire extinguisher cylinder.  Although this "clumping" theory is not universally recognized, I think it makes sense, and what harm can an occasional "whack" do?  A "whack" can be administered by the heel of your hand or by a rubber mallet ... use common sense here.  The "whack" should be administered near the bottom of the fire extinguisher cylinder, either on the bottom itself, or on the side near the bottom.  A properly administered "whack" will not cause a fire extinguisher to explode.:P

 

No disrespect intended, Oily Rag, but your type should not be left laying about the garage (or any place else) due to the possibility of spontaneous combustion.  You should be kept in a tightly sealed metal container:o.  Although the risk of spontaneous combustion is pretty low with rags soaked in motor oil, a rag soaked in linseed oil will light off on a hot day if you even just look at it cross-eyed (well, almost:D).

 

Cheers,

Grog

I am of Irish decent and have been known to flare up just a time or two ,        a garage is most likely the safest place for me.  

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Jim Bollman    23
20 hours ago, Digger914 said:

Like any good pressurized gas bottle if you snap it off at the bung is shoots off like a rocket. Steel ones rust, aluminum corrodes and threads can disintegrate over time. How long it takes for a metal bottle to get spooky bad really depends on where it sits.

 

Thanks, visual inspection shows no rust problems. I knew about the shooting around the room problem for O2 tanks but didn't think about it for the CO2 extinguisher. I need to find a more stable base for it to sit.

 

I was working in a second building of my Dad's last Summer and found a second CO2 extinguisher but didn't get a chance to look it over.

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60FlatTop    1,797
4 hours ago, oily rag said:

I am of Irish decent and have been known to flare up just a time or two ,

 

I'm from the dropped 'O side, completely the opposite. Your name is Mc-what?

 

One of my best friends had 5 cars in a rented garage that he had been working on since High School. The garage burned and he lost them all. So he quit spending time on the cars and focused on his business. About ten years later he bought a new Lincoln and the first of a bunch of Cadillacs and Rolls-Royces.

 

Life has been too good to me.

Bernie

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JACK M    421
On ‎4‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 0:38 PM, victorialynn2 said:

Thanks everyone for the very detailed and helpful info. I can always count on you guys to answer my questions thoroughly. 

In fact,  y'all do such a good job that I think I'm going to start asking you for advice on my personal problems too! :D

 

 

You have friends that you haven't met yet.

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Roger Walling    105

 In addition to fire extinguishers in my garage, I keep two 5 gallons of water to wash my hands. It would be very handy to use in a class "A" fire.

I keep the largest fire extinguisher just inside the exit door, that way when running outside, I could grab it and go back and fight the fire.

 

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Restorer32    478

Here's a cautionary tale. Years ago Dad and I were driving out in the country, maybe 1/2 mile from the nearest telephone. Suddenly we noticed smoke coming from under the hood of his '70 Cadillac (daily driver, this was in '73 or so). We popped the hood and the entire engine compartment burst into flames. Turned out the auto trans was pumping fluid back out the dipstick hole and onto the hot manifold. What to do? No extinguisher of course. Looked in the trunk and only thing there was a gallon of antifreeze. Dad "will antifreeze burn?" Me (the college educated kid) "Yes but it will probably put out the fire if dumped on quickly". Well, I am here to tell you never try to put out a fire with antifreeze. We hid the evidence from the firemen.The car was a total loss. 

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Grimy    262

Restorer's sad tale is actually an advertisement or Halon or Halonite as an automotive fire extinguishing agent.  Opening the hood provided air to the fire and "fed" it. Using Halon or Halonite, shoot UNDER the car, without opening the hood, and the agent will be sucked up into the fire and deny it oxygen.

 

For those of us with louvered hoods, shoot thru the louvers followed by shots under the car.  Best of all, no mess!

 

Halon is REQUIRED on aircraft for a very good reason.  It is considerable more expensive than others but worth it for our cars. 

 

And I completely agree with Roger Walling to keep your extinguishers near the exit of your garage.

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