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Old 01-30-2022, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Fire protection

After seeing my old house burn down (planned) my mind shifted to fire prevention, I thought I'd share what know about fire extinguishers.

A few years back I was talking with the company that did the fire extinguishers at work. He explained that the cheap fire extinguishers you see at Home Depot, Walmart etc. will completely trash your house and do a lot of damage. We had a lot of expensive electronics at work, computer room etc. and he recommended Halotron for those expensive equipment areas. The agent on the cheap extinguishers will get into everything.

So I bought a couple of these. They are 10x more expensive, but based on what he told me, they are well worth it. You also have to go much larger to cover the same size fire.

https://www.amazon.com/Buckeye-75555.../dp/B009WUGXXM

I have (had) Z-Wave CO / Smoke Detectors in both houses. On the new house I'm gonna go with all Nest.

Also going with an Induction Cooktop stove.

Last edited by mswlogo; 01-30-2022 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 01-30-2022, 04:48 PM   #2
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We love our induction range--so much better than gas.

On the smoke detectors (and CO)--one important thing we learned a couple of years ago is that these units have only a ten year life. If your detectors are over 10 years old (and aren't everybody's?), replace them!
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Old 01-30-2022, 06:03 PM   #3
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We love our induction range--so much better than gas.

On the smoke detectors (and CO)--one important thing we learned a couple of years ago is that these units have only a ten year life. If your detectors are over 10 years old (and aren't everybody's?), replace them!
Yes, and fire extinguishers do too. One disadvantage of those Halotron's is they need to be inspected every 5 years.

Another thing related to fire and being "out of date" is make sure you refresh your insurance policy every 5 years too. With prices going up so much your policy may no longer cover replacement. The house I'm building is gonna cost about twice what I expected.
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Old 01-30-2022, 06:19 PM   #4
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Exclamation Why halons are no longer manufactured

The halons used in fire suppression systems are no longer manufactured due to the severe effect of halon on the ozone layer (much worse than the also banned Freon). All the halon available today is recycled from fire protection systems removed from service (and often replaced with newer, less environmentally dangerous systems,) Portable halon extinguishers are illegal in many locations. Some details are in this EPA post

You are correct that many dry powder extinguishers sold in hardware stores can severely corrode the items that come in contact with the powder. But remember that the first purpose of fire protection is life and safety protection. Things are replaceable, people aren't And your best protection of things is to have a good insurance policy.

If you want an extinguisher that is legal (everywhere) and won't damage your electronics, get a CO2 extinguisher. However, unless you've had firefighting training, if the fire is anything beyond the smallest fire, call the fire department, and get everyone out. Let them put the fire out and stay safe.
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Old 01-30-2022, 08:15 PM   #5
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Another extinguisher that is neglected is the one in your boat's engine room. Should be weighed/pressure checked, whatever, routinely, but it isn't on the usual fall/spring checklist like oil changes, lower unit, etc. I hear it's hard to find someone to do this.
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Old 01-30-2022, 08:26 PM   #6
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Default Oh Halotron, not Halon

I now read more closely (my bad) But Halotron, basically a repurpose of the refrigerant HCFC123 with some additives has its own issues.

In fact HCFC123 is being phased out as a refrigerant because it also is an ozone depleting gas. Not as severe as Halon, but severe enough that there is an international agreement to stop using it in new equipment in 2020 and no longer be available for repairs in 2030.

As a firefighting agent, it was developed and is marketed by a company that uses a website of the same name, Halotron.

It is apparently not approved as a firefighting agent in residences. If you read through the whole SDS (formerly MSDS) sheet you might think twice about using it, at least without self contained breathing apparatus.

Quoting from the SDS:Precautionary Statements:
P261: Avoid breathing vapors/spray
P271: Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area
P304+P340: IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing
P 312 Call a POISON CENTER or doctor/physician if you feel unwell
P403+P233: Store in a well-ventilated place. Keep container tightly closed.
P405: Store locked up
P501: Dispose of contents/container to an approved waste disposal plant

Information pertaining to particular dangers for man and environment: Inhalation of high concentrations of
vapour may cause central nervous system effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, anesthesia, or unconsciousness.
When used on a fire, hazardous decomposition products are formed, but typically are within safe emergency
exposure limits. Misuse or intentional inhalation abuse may lead to death without warning.

And you might want to also read the SDS for the HCFC123 which is 96 percent of the Halotron mixture. Do you really want to breathe this stuff?

Personally, I'd stick to a CO2 extinguisher. Yes, CO2 can be injurious, but at greater concentrations.

Beyond that, which is more important, your equipment or your life or health?
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Old 01-30-2022, 10:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by panjumbie View Post
The halons used in fire suppression systems are no longer manufactured due to the severe effect of halon on the ozone layer (much worse than the also banned Freon). All the halon available today is recycled from fire protection systems removed from service (and often replaced with newer, less environmentally dangerous systems,) Portable halon extinguishers are illegal in many locations. Some details are in this EPA post

You are correct that many dry powder extinguishers sold in hardware stores can severely corrode the items that come in contact with the powder. But remember that the first purpose of fire protection is life and safety protection. Things are replaceable, people aren't And your best protection of things is to have a good insurance policy.

If you want an extinguisher that is legal (everywhere) and won't damage your electronics, get a CO2 extinguisher. However, unless you've had firefighting training, if the fire is anything beyond the smallest fire, call the fire department, and get everyone out. Let them put the fire out and stay safe.
Thanks for the education, but not lecture.

I think everyone can judge for themselves if I they want to tackle a toaster oven vs let half the house burn down while they wait for the fire department. All these hand extinguishers canít handle that much of a fire. The fire department reach varies a lot around here. So what one chooses to do and be prepared for will respectfully vary a lot.

How often have you heard of people getting killed fighting their own fire with hand held kitchen fire extinguisher? You make it sound like itís a common problem.
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Old 01-30-2022, 10:36 PM   #8
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Default K class fire extinguisher

You may want to consider a K class fire extinguisher for the kitchen, especially if you will be doing frying or cooking with grease. The association i belong to had a commercial kitchen but we'r knotty cook about 30 meals per year. We do not do any frying (think French fries or fried chicken). Our insurance wanted us to install a fire suppression hood, but after a loooong discussion, they agreed to us only having a K class extinguisher. I believe they run around $250 new.we got ours at Cintas in Bow.

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Old 01-31-2022, 07:56 AM   #9
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I donít think panjumble was trying to say donít try and fight a small kitchen fire. I believe he was saying be careful what you use to fight the fire and know your limits. Trying to protect your electronic gear with exotic extinguishers that can be/are both highly hazardous to life and the environment is less important than protecting your life. You can replace your home & ďstuffĒ with insurance proceeds. Your family & friends canít replace you no matter how much life insurance you carry.


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Old 01-31-2022, 08:03 AM   #10
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Fire extinguishers only work when there's someone there to use it.

Similarly, you can set up a permanent 50' or 100' expanding garden hose and nozzle in a kitchen or bathroom, someplace centrally located in the house to get used as a water/fire hose and long enough to reach that problematic Vermont wood stove. Should-a got a New Hampshire wood stove .... !

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Old 01-31-2022, 03:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Real BigGuy View Post
I donít think panjumble was trying to say donít try and fight a small kitchen fire. I believe he was saying be careful what you use to fight the fire and know your limits. Trying to protect your electronic gear with exotic extinguishers that can be/are both highly hazardous to life and the environment is less important than protecting your life. You can replace your home & ďstuffĒ with insurance proceeds. Your family & friends canít replace you no matter how much life insurance you carry.


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I agree with panjumble and RBG--halon is dangerous--it sucks the oxygen out of the room...and your lungs. I would worry that I would collapse if I used one for any length of time indoors.
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Old 01-31-2022, 05:56 PM   #12
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A couple of comments: First, I'm sorry if it appeared that I'm "lecturing". But there are issues that may not be apparent to people.

In addition to the potential hazard to health from the fire fighting agent, there is the issue of smoke inhalation. Any research of fire deaths will show that the most common cause of death in a fire is smoke inhalation. And there are more injured from smoke inhalation than die. Every one of those who died in the recent Bronx apartment house fire died of smoke inhalation, not from burns or other direct effect of the flames.

Firefighters who must enter an enclosed fire scene will wear self contained breathing apparatus. Even so, firefighters are often victims of smoke inhalation. Another reason to just evacuate while you can, not to try to put out the fire. You don't have their breathing apparatus. You don't have their firefighting gear which reduces their chance of being burnt. You don't have their hose with high pressure water which lets them fight the fire from a distance, probably a greater distance than one using a portable extinguisher. Finally, you probably don't have their training.

If you want to protect your property and stay safe, install a residential fire sprinkler system. Not inexpensive, and potentially a problem if you don't have a municipal water service, but it will almost always put a quick stop to most home fires, particularly the kitchen cooking fires that are the cause of more than 50 percent of home fires and the fires caused by cigarettes, the greatest cause of home fire deaths.

Incidentally, the dry powder extinguisher is very effective against most cooking fires, as long as they haven't already spread to the surrounding furniture. And the corrosion issue isn't going to be a problem in the kitchen. Anything close to the fire is going to either be burnt or so coated with smoke deposits it will end up in the rubbish. The dry powder won't spread into other areas of the home.

For electronics, the most important thing is to turn off the power to it. In many cases, the "fire" will stop by itself then. Then, yes a CO2 extinguisher is better than dry powder. But it is likely that the electronics is going to keep burning until it is de-energized. And do be aware that the plastic in consumer electronics and the interconnecting cables is a significant generator of very toxic smoke.

A little aside to that, if turning off the power requires running into the basement to turn off circuit breakers, don't. One does not want to be trapped in the basement because the fire spread to the only exit. It is interesting that the latest issue of the National Electric Code requires a power shutoff to be installed outside the home on new installations, near the service entrance, specifically so the power can be shut off in a fire situation. Now, I'll admit to misgivings about that requirement, from a home security standpoint, but I think it brings home the point about being able to safely turn off power in a building in the event of a fire.

My final thought. If you are serious about fire protection and are young enough and in good physical condition, consider joining the (presumably volunteer if you aren't in a city) Fire Department. You will be doing your community a major service, and incidentally you will receive training on how to safely fight a fire, be it a small "cooking fire" or a major conflagration. Beyond that, your fire department may offer classes in how and when to use portable fire extinguishers, when to get out, and other steps in fire prevention.

Please do not take this as a personal lecture, I just want anyone reading this thread, not just those who have posted, to think about the safety issues that may not always be generally understood.
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Old 02-01-2022, 12:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panjumbie View Post
A couple of comments: First, I'm sorry if it appeared that I'm "lecturing". But there are issues that may not be apparent to people.

In addition to the potential hazard to health from the fire fighting agent, there is the issue of smoke inhalation. Any research of fire deaths will show that the most common cause of death in a fire is smoke inhalation. And there are more injured from smoke inhalation than die. Every one of those who died in the recent Bronx apartment house fire died of smoke inhalation, not from burns or other direct effect of the flames.

Firefighters who must enter an enclosed fire scene will wear self contained breathing apparatus. Even so, firefighters are often victims of smoke inhalation. Another reason to just evacuate while you can, not to try to put out the fire. You don't have their breathing apparatus. You don't have their firefighting gear which reduces their chance of being burnt. You don't have their hose with high pressure water which lets them fight the fire from a distance, probably a greater distance than one using a portable extinguisher. Finally, you probably don't have their training.

If you want to protect your property and stay safe, install a residential fire sprinkler system. Not inexpensive, and potentially a problem if you don't have a municipal water service, but it will almost always put a quick stop to most home fires, particularly the kitchen cooking fires that are the cause of more than 50 percent of home fires and the fires caused by cigarettes, the greatest cause of home fire deaths.

Incidentally, the dry powder extinguisher is very effective against most cooking fires, as long as they haven't already spread to the surrounding furniture. And the corrosion issue isn't going to be a problem in the kitchen. Anything close to the fire is going to either be burnt or so coated with smoke deposits it will end up in the rubbish. The dry powder won't spread into other areas of the home.

For electronics, the most important thing is to turn off the power to it. In many cases, the "fire" will stop by itself then. Then, yes a CO2 extinguisher is better than dry powder. But it is likely that the electronics is going to keep burning until it is de-energized. And do be aware that the plastic in consumer electronics and the interconnecting cables is a significant generator of very toxic smoke.

A little aside to that, if turning off the power requires running into the basement to turn off circuit breakers, don't. One does not want to be trapped in the basement because the fire spread to the only exit. It is interesting that the latest issue of the National Electric Code requires a power shutoff to be installed outside the home on new installations, near the service entrance, specifically so the power can be shut off in a fire situation. Now, I'll admit to misgivings about that requirement, from a home security standpoint, but I think it brings home the point about being able to safely turn off power in a building in the event of a fire.

My final thought. If you are serious about fire protection and are young enough and in good physical condition, consider joining the (presumably volunteer if you aren't in a city) Fire Department. You will be doing your community a major service, and incidentally you will receive training on how to safely fight a fire, be it a small "cooking fire" or a major conflagration. Beyond that, your fire department may offer classes in how and when to use portable fire extinguishers, when to get out, and other steps in fire prevention.

Please do not take this as a personal lecture, I just want anyone reading this thread, not just those who have posted, to think about the safety issues that may not always be generally understood.
No problem. I've had my share of sounding "lecturing" online I know your intensions were good.

But you made a big boo boo.

Halotron is NOT Halon and not banned, it is one of several new "clean agents" designed to address the banning of Halon 28 years ago (in 1994) !!! I bought my Halotron ones 5 years ago.

Halotron is arguably better than CO2 extinguishers because it can handle ABC fires (if sized large enough). Where CO2 can only do BC.

See this for comparison.

https://blog.koorsen.com/co2-fire-ex...-extinguishers

And for the record I didn't get the Halotrons to protect sensitive electronics, they did that at work for that reason. For home, I didn't want to trash the house because of something SMALL that needed to be extinguished (like a toaster oven). I don't consider Extinguishers a "safety" thing, in the home. They ARE in boat though. Because you can choose just to walk away at home. They are to prevent a small problem from becoming an unnecessary large one. And it's kind of dumb to walk out of the house and call the fire department for a toaster oven.

If you have serious smoke, it's already WAY too late for DIY.

The dry power extinguishers just makes the small problem even bigger in clean up. It's really nasty stuff.

The disadvantage of Halotrons are is they are much larger to handle the same size fire and 10x more expensive. But if you have to use it, the Halotron will save you money in clean up. Another advantage of Halotron is you can see what's going on.

I just looked back at your post and see you corrected it. I'll read up on the toxicity. But there are so many things that are toxic, in excess. I will consider a CO2. I might get a CO2 + a Dry Power one to cover Class A.

The old Freon was great stuff. For everything but the Ozone. Most new Refrigerates are great for Ozone, not so good for us Humans.
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Old 02-01-2022, 12:59 AM   #14
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I removed "storage" from your list.

Halotron looks the least scary, if injected intravenously See SDS for the other common extinguishers, they look as bad if not worse.

I rarely use SDS because you don't know quantities, concentrations or context. They list things that COULD happen in the worst case.
You could die if you drink too much milk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by panjumbie View Post
Quoting from the SDS:Precautionary Statements:
P261: Avoid breathing vapors/spray
P271: Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area
P304+P340: IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing
P 312 Call a POISON CENTER or doctor/physician if you feel unwell
Here is the SDS for CO2

Prevention
P251 261 271 280
Do not pierce or burn, even after use.
Avoid breathing gas.
Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection.
Response
P312 321 336 304+340 305+310 313+333
Call a POISON CENTER/doctor if you feel unwell.
Specific treatment (see Section 4. First Aid Measures)
Thaw frosted parts with lukewarm water. Do not rub affected areas.
IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing. IF IN EYES: Immediately call a doctor.
May be harmful in contact with skin or if inhaled.

Here is SD for Dry Power

Prevention
Response
P251 261 264 280
Do not pierce or burn, even after use.

Avoid breathing dust/fumes/gas/mist/vapours/spray.
Wash exposed skin thoroughly after handling.
P312 321
362 302+352 304+340 305+351+338
332+313 342+311 337+313
Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection.
Call a doctor if you feel unwell.

Specific treatment (see Section 4. First Aid Measures)
Take off contaminated clothing.
IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of water.
IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing.
IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses if
present and easy to do – continue rinsing.
If skin irritation occurs: Get medical advice/attention.
If experiencing respiratory symptoms: Call a doctor.
If eye irritation persists get medical advice/attention.
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Old 03-22-2022, 01:00 PM   #15
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Default Interesting Fire Protection System

Having a house on an island off the grid, I like to read the magazine Cabin Life.

One way a backwoods cabin owner set up to help save a cabin from a forest fire.
1. You need a close by Pond or Lake.
2. Purchase a water trash pump and some large 2 inch hose to pickup from the
lake and hose to a large sprinkler.
3. Large sprinkler head
4. Clear all the brush and trees around your hose to have a fire break.

Of course someone has to start the water pump, remotely or by your neighbor. Pre soak your house before the wildfire reaches you and the fire may jump your cabin.

The house will have water damage like drywall, electronics, plaster, and furniture. But you can save your house.

The key is to have a fire hose style hose to put enough water on your cabin while waiting for the fireboat. A garden hose will not put enough water on a house.
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Old 03-23-2022, 01:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Fire extinguishers only work when there's someone there to use it.

Similarly, you can set up a permanent 50' or 100' expanding garden hose and nozzle in a kitchen or bathroom, someplace centrally located in the house to get used as a water/fire hose and long enough to reach that problematic Vermont wood stove. Should-a got a New Hampshire wood stove .... !
FLL please do not do this on a petroleum based fire! You may think using water on one is a great idea, it's not rather just causes it to spread both rapidly and out of control. This very thing was demonstrated to us in US Navy fire fighting school and it's pretty remarkable to see. It's also not terribly smart on an electrical fire unless you want to risk getting yourself zapped pretty good.
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