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Recommend a Fire Extinguisher


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The 2022 (and probably pervious years) SuppRegs recommend to install a fire extinguisher. I’m loathe to drill holes in my street/track car but will look into it. 
 

Can anybody recommend type/model of an appropriate fire extinguisher?

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Posted (edited)

If I can add to this discussion, the answer to the best fire extinguishers for vehicles is ... it depends. There is no one good solution for everyone.

I have been fortunate enough to have some experience with many types of extinguishers.

A 2.5 lb Halotron is an excellent suggestion, and is widely used in race cars and aircraft because it does not leave any harmful residue or affect electrical components once discharged. They are pricey, and the Halotron gas is still marginally harmful for the environment and must be recovered during the charging process. (Not as harmful as the older Halon gas, which can no longer be manufactured and can only be recharged with either old stock or used Halon gas that has been previously recovered.)

Very few suppliers are equipped to recharge Halotron, so consider they are probably better considered a one-time use extinguisher. They are also only a BC rated fire extinguisher in the smaller sizes. (B= combustible liquids; C= electrical fires.)

Halotron is very popular with race cars that use lots of metal components and not much fabric or plastic in the interior or engine bay. Still a good choice if one is more concerned about the lack of potential residue left behind and the fact that they won't harm electrical components. (This is why they are still widely used on aircraft, and Halon was used on the space shuttle.)

Another choice that may work better for street cars or vehicles with a lot of combustible materials such as plastic inside or in the engine bay, is dry chemical. They are usually rated for Class A (combustible materials such as fabric, wood and plastic) as well as Class B and Class C. This would be my choice for more modern cars. They are also cheaper than Halotron, more efficient and can be refilled inexpensively. But if used to control a fire, the chemical residue left behind will require extensive cleanup and can be corrosive to components. Consider that the dry chemical is very fine and is going to get everywhere. 

The CO2 extinguishers used by WSCC track marshalls would not be a good choice for inside a vehicle because most of the CO2 gas extinguishers are designed only for Class B and Class C. They are best for us to use outside the vehicle because our concern will not be putting out a fire and saving your car; our number one concern is laying down a safe path for the driver to escape.

Solid state fire extinguishers are fairly new to the market. They are operated much like one ignites a road flare and they emit a chemical that forms a gas, meaning there is no cleanup required. They extinguish for a longer period of time from a very compact package, but once ignited, they cannot be shut off. There is no maintenance required as they are not pressurized. They are not UL rated, so if one is required to use a UL-rated extinguisher, the solid state extinguisher would be a supplement. One must get much closer to the fire with a solid state stick extinguisher and it takes a few seconds to read the instructions if necessary; remove the caps, and strike the ends together. But a fire that can be put out when small might save a huge cleanup mess later.

We would not use solid state 'stick-type' extinguishers trackside because one must get too close to the fire (approximately one to two feet) and they are not designed to lay down a safe path of escape.

If I had the money or rules required a UL-rated extinguisher, I would go with a 2.5-lb Halotron extinguisher in the car. A 2.5-lb dry chemical would be a cheaper substitute, especially in a car with more fabric and plastic, provided I was willing to live with the possible corrosive effects of the chemical afterwards. 

I would most definitely consider a solid state 'stick-type' fire extinguisher kept in a handy place inside the car if putting out a small fire before it gets large is my major concern and not for laying down an path of escape. One lesson I learned in the field of tactical first aid is that a minimal compact kit on you is better than the best first aid kit in the world 100 yards away. I think the same thing applies to compact fire extinguishers.

By the way, the designation on a UL-rated fire extinguisher, such as 1A-10B-C does NOT mean that it is ten times better on a Class B (fuel; oil) fire than a Class A fire. The number before the "A" designates the water gallon equivalent, based on 1 being 1.25 gallons of water. Therefore, a Class 1A carries the same as 1.25 gallons of water, and a 2A is 2.5 gallons of water equivalent. The number before the "B" designates the square footage of a fuel or oil fire it can extinguish. For example, a 10B can put out 10 square feet of a Class B fire. The letter "C" doesn't have a number in front of it because it simply indicates that the extinguishing agent does not conduct electricity.

Hope this helps. 

Edited by Have Gun Will Travel
Updated to include information on stick extinguishers such as the Element
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I am seriously looking at the Element fire extinguisher. Much smaller and lighter than the traditional extinguishers, and rated ABC. Said to be non-toxic and does not leave any residue. Non-refillable, but that does not bother me. It also can be shut off and restarted again.

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Posted (edited)

I'd really like to know more on this topic.. like what kind of fire extinguisher would be good to mount in a car, or at least include with my kit.

There are brackets that attach to the passenger seat bolts, so you wouldn't have to make any extra holes.

http://www.thebracketeer.com/

https://elementfirecanada.com/products/seat-rail-mount

Looks like the Element is a rebranded Fire Safety Stick, recommended by Nicky Grist.  I think I'll get one of these.  I'd get two if we made a group purchase.

Some related discussion by another WSCC:  https://forum.wscc.co.uk/forum/topic/139240-fire-safety-stick/ 

Edited by Matter
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On 5/17/2022 at 11:01 PM, BigKahuna said:

Halotron is not harmful to the environment and can be recharged unlike Halon 

Good to know! Thanks!

I have contacted every extinguisher company in Winnipeg and so far, none will refill Holotron. Mind you, I was talking to sales agents and not technicians, so they may have got the information wrong. If you know of a place in Winnipeg, please let me know and I will correct my post. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/21/2022 at 1:56 PM, BigKahuna said:

No seat rail mount would have to be special ordered but have the roll bar mount and magnetic mount

could you order a seat bracket for me?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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