Join Date: Dec 2002
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Re: Fire extinguishers
I saw some misinformation in the above threads and wanted to make sure that readers have clear and accurate information. The two most likely vehicle fires involve electrical (Class C) and flammable liquids (Class B). Class B fires also include plastics and rubber. As JoeyCJ55 has correctly pointed out, a multipurpose ABC extinguisher is a good choice as would be a BC extinguisher. The larger the extinguisher, the larger the fire it can extinguish. That is what the numbers before the letters mean on the extinguisher label. It is a tradoff between size and extinguishing capacity. The National Fire Protection Association recommends extinguishers in the 5 to 20 B:C range for small trucks.
I personnally have disposable 1A,10B:C extinguishers in my home and 5B:C extinguishers in each of my vehicles. The problem with refillable extinguishers is that they need to be serviced annually by a technician whereas the disposable types are maintenance-free other than an occasional shake and are cheap enough to replace every 5 years or so. For the annual service, look in the yellow pages under "Fire Protection". I would be very surprised if any fire departments serviced fire extingishers for the public. The powder in ABC extinguishers is the most corrosive and should be promptly and thorougly cleaned off after use.
If you can find a halon extinguisher, it would be very expensive, and no, halon is not toxic and you will not die if you are in a room when a halon system discharges. There are several halon-alternative gaseous agent extinguishers but they are very expensive and I have yet to see one on a shelf at a consumer store.
Inergen is used in total-flooding applications, such as computer rooms, and not in portable extinguishers. There is still nothing better than Halon, so, when cost is not an issue, you will find halon systems in applications such as race cars and airplane engines.
Dominique Dieken, P.E., CFPS
Jeeper (and Senior Fire Protection Engineer when I'm not in the Jeep)
1966 CJ5, Buick V6, Swampers, 1" susp lift, dual fuel pumps
1987 GW, 360, restored stock