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Fire Extinquisher topic resurrection

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Forum topic by Whiskers posted 03-27-2014 04:11 AM 995 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


03-27-2014 04:11 AM

Okay guys, I know there are a few firemen type out there but yall really dropped the ball when this topic was brought up in previous posts. Let us not discuss whether one should have a Fire Extinguisher in the shop, that is a given, and lets please not repeat that long lame ass post about fire prevention and explosive dusts and other explosive anything, hell if explosive anything is involved I just hope I am able to scream and run fleeing in terror.

I want a simple thing, a Fire Extinguisher that will put out a ordinary fire, is rechargeable, and affordable. In the past you could get them recharged by local fire departments, maybe you still can in some locals. Where I live I ran into a boy in that department at the HD who works as a volunteer fireman for my locale, and he said they don’t do that, but they do take them in and trade them like they do propane tanks. It free, you give up a dead one, they give you a recharged one. OK, I guess I can live with that.

They live a long time anyway. Or should, the cheap ones that aren’t rechargeable do not live very long. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Now there are 2 common brands out there and I want to know if there anything I should know before selecting a brand or type. I am of course looking at the common dry chemical ABC types that make a big bloody mess if you ever have to use them, and are dead once used. HD sells Kidde, and they have a 4 Lb unit that is $40 and is a aluminum tank. Lowes carries First Alert Brand and they sell a 5 LB unit that is $30 in a Steel Tank. The rating on them both is 2-A:10-B:C. Anyone want to explain what the heck that rating means? Shouldn’t the 5 LB unit have a higher rating, or is that a sign the First Alert isn’t as efficient. Should I care if the tank is aluminum or steel? One other difference is the First Alert unit does not come with a wall mounting bracket but the Kidde has a cheap flimsy plastic bracket. I’m not concerned with that as I can easily rig something up.

Is there anything really tangible about fire extinguishers that I should know before buying one, and for god sake please stay on topic for once. No freaking out over whether dust collectors have explosive dust, or fire prevention etc.


16 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5314 posts in 3178 days


#1 posted 03-27-2014 04:23 AM

Good topic, I will look forward to the equally good answers!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


#2 posted 03-27-2014 04:26 AM

Cross your fingers, firemen responded before but they got off on their little tangents talking garbage about this and that and fire alarms vs smoke alarms etc etc and useless nonsense.

Remember guys, too little too late, THE GARAGE IS ON FIRE! All heck has broken loose, the bucket of linseed soaked rags spontaneously combusted which caused me to spill coffee in the table saw shorting it out and caused the dust collection system to explosively combust which set off the gas can I had conveniently stored next to it.

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funchuck

119 posts in 2523 days


#3 posted 03-27-2014 11:44 AM

Yes, great topic! I have a first alert one, but I bought it without any research. I also assumed they were all rechargeable. I’d better look at mine and see if it is rechargeable and hopefully it isn’t expired! I think it’s about a year old.

-- Charles from California

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Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1414 days


#4 posted 03-27-2014 12:32 PM

Personally I have 2- 10lb units. I have more extinguishers than most need, but I heat with wood. I would go to a store that thats all they do. I have a customer thats what he does, recharge and sell fire extinguishers to commercial places. When the units are past their date (I think over 12 years) they have to be replaced. He recharges them and sells them cash out the door. He tears them down and inspects them, then puts in new powder, and recharges them. So for less than $40 I have two units, and if thats not enough I really should be running anyways.

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gmc

34 posts in 1622 days


#5 posted 03-27-2014 01:26 PM

Well I will try to stay focused, with such a wide open invitation it will be hard. If you want to understand ratings of fire extinguishers you can go to this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_extinguisher

Here is a quick run down of what they mean:
Comparison of fire classes
American European Australian/Asian Fuel/Heat source
Class A Class A Class A Ordinary combustibles
Class B Class B Class B Flammable liquids
Class C Class C Flammable gases
Class C UNCLASSIFIED Class E Electrical equipment
Class D Class D Class D Combustible metals
Class K Class F Class F Cooking oil or fat

I personally would follow Shawn’s advice, go to a company that repairs and sells fire extinguishers. They can sell you a unit for not much more than the big box stores that will last you a lifetime. They can even help you decide what type, size, and how many you should have. My advice would be two min, in the shop and two min, in your house. It is the only chance you might get to knock the fire down long enough to get everyone out of the house safely. BTW, I have two ten and two twenty pound units. Two in the workshop and two in the house.

-- Gary, Central Illinois

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deputy4989

17 posts in 991 days


#6 posted 03-27-2014 01:34 PM

Retired Deputy Chief here. I have a drychem 10lb abc drychem and a 20 lb presurized water extingusher. The dry chem can be very corrosive

-- If we can't fix it, It ain't broke

View BJODay's profile

BJODay

514 posts in 1409 days


#7 posted 03-28-2014 02:46 AM

Whiskers,

“A” is for ordinary combustibles, like wood and paper.
“1-A” is and extinguisher that can put out the equivalent of 1-1/4 gallons of water.
“2-A” can put out the equivalent of 2-1/2 gallons of water.
The silver pressurized water can that every fire engine carries is a “2-A”. You can put out a lot of fire with a water can.

“B” is for flammable liquids.
“1-B” can extinguish 1 sq. ft. of burning liquid.
“10-B” can extinguish 10 sq. Ft. of burning liquid.

“C” is for charged electrical fires.
“C” extinguishers are not rated. You “10-BC” is rated for the “B” class, but can also be used on the “C” class fires.

“D” is for combustible metals. These are specific agents for specific metals. There is not any, (that I know of), general use Class “D” extinguishers.

“K” is for cooking oil fires. These are agents found in restaurant vent hood extinguishing systems.

Using an extinguisher is risky. If you are in a basement workshop it can easily become filled with smoke and you can be overcome. If you have a fire and use an extinguisher, be ready to bail out and collect the insurance. Stay between the fire and the door. Don’t let the fire cut off your escape route.

I would use an ABC drychem extinguisher. A water can is cheaper. You can refill and pressurize it with your own compressor.

BJ,
Still on the job as a Firefighter

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


#8 posted 03-28-2014 02:51 AM

Thank you BJ I knew what the ABC was for, but didn’t understand the numbers. Yours was the first really useful response I’ve gotten so far. I can visualize how much fire each is rated for now.

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

914 posts in 1559 days


#9 posted 03-28-2014 02:55 AM

My shop contains the usual sawdust and crud lying around. I also have bottles of solvents like naphtha and lacquer thinner for stuff like varnishes, etc. Will an ABC fire extinguisher do? I’ve got one in the shop. I was under the impression that getting “D” class extinguishers is both difficult and expensive.

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


#10 posted 03-28-2014 03:02 AM

Purr, ABC is what you want in your shop. I can’t see any reason a normal person would need a D type, the type metals most work with don’t combust. Unless you do a lot of work with magnesium or solid pure sodium I wouldn’t worry about a D type.

BJ, about being overcome by smoke when using a fire extinguisher, I been around one when it went off, the “smoke” from the extinguisher is worse than the fires!

View BJODay's profile

BJODay

514 posts in 1409 days


#11 posted 03-28-2014 03:14 AM

Whiskers,

My worry would be the fire spreading faster than you realize. Spilled solvents can carry the fire across a room. A broken or spilled dust collector bag puts a high volume of very small combustible particles in the air. (I won’t say explosion, oops, I said it).

A small electrical fire, or a fire from a burned up bearing would easily be handled by an extinguisher.

I do not finish in my basement. I’m worried about the fumes traveling to the water heater. The danger in my shop is housekeeping. I have saw dust in every saw and motor. Even when I clean up, it is not really very clean.

BJ

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


#12 posted 03-28-2014 03:56 AM

Based on my research and what BJ has said, HD does have the best deal for fire extinguishers and I think I’ve made up my mind to get the 5 lb pro model since it can be recharged. The cost tween disposable and rechargeable is about $10, I think it worth that. The 5 lb model is rated 3A 40BC which should handle any accidents I have. I would love to get the 10 lb model but it is $70 and oddly it isn’t that much higher rated. Now all I need is to acquire another HD or Lowe’s coupon and I’m good to go, one should show up soon, it about due. Did a google search and couldn’t find any services in my area that actually did the recharging or I would do what Shawn did and try to pick up some previously owned but recharged units. On the way to the HD I’ll stop at the fire department and see if anyone around to ask about that, but I doubt anyone will actually be there.

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1559 days


#13 posted 03-28-2014 05:03 AM

I don’t have a smoke alarm in my shop (which is a barn, actually). Perhaps I should put one in there. Though it’s far enough away from the house that I don’t think anyone would hear it.

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Whiskers

389 posts in 1493 days


#14 posted 03-28-2014 05:15 AM

Purr, I have a similar dilemma in that I have a large 2 story house, and there is a lot of insulation in the top of my garage. When I was looking at the Fire extinguishers it showed a little section of “BUY THIS CRAP TOO” and in there is hard wired inter-connectible smoke alarms. They are only $15 each or a 6 pack for $70. I was intrigued and plan to check those out. I assume inter-connectable means if one goes off, they all go off. Might be a solution depending on how hard it is to run a wire tween them. I don’t know how they interconnect, I saw a red wire and assume that has something to do with it. Look up one of the fire extinguishers on HD and you should see what I’m talking about.

HEY BJ! How you wire these inter-connectible thingys up? Just pull any black and white of a nearby circuit, and than run a wire tween all the alarms on the red?

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BJODay

514 posts in 1409 days


#15 posted 03-28-2014 10:04 PM

I’ve never installed inter-connected smoke detectors.

Call your local fire department. They should be able to tell you where you can get extinguishers recharged. Another option is the next time you are in a commercial building, look at the tag on one of their mounted fire extinguishers. It will have the name of the company that services them. There should be one near you. Every medium sized city has thousands of extinguishers in commercial properties.

BJ

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