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Old 01-21-2020, 06:03 PM   #1
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RV and Home Fire Extinguishers

I spent more than a month researching fire extinguisher types, function, and effectiveness. Most, if not all of your fire extinguisher(s) are of the dry chemical type. These are the least expensive of available types and are sold by home improvement, Walmart, Amazon, and other frequently visited stores.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are inexpensive, offer limited effectiveness for their intended uses, and they have serious issues you should be aware of.

1. You likely have 2.5 lb extinguishers and these are not adequate for many fire needs. They are typically rated as 1A5BC or 1A10BC and this classification covers basic use. The letters refer to (A) ordinary combustibles like wood and paper, (B) liquids and gasses not including kitchen greases and fats, and (C) electrical. The numbers refer to (1) the equivalent of 1.25 gallons of water and (5 or 10) an area of 5 or 10 square feet. The weight (2.5 lb) refers to the amount of fire suppression chemical in the extinguisher.

2. They must be turned upside down and the bottom hit firmly with a rubber mallet one or more times every six months to keep the chemicals from clumping and becoming ineffective if needed. Even after doing this some clumped chemical may remain and cannot be used.

3. The dry chemical used damages or destroys anything it comes in contact with, including electrical devices and wiring.

Given the limited applications and destructive properties of dry chemical fire extinguishers and the fact that they are not intended for kitchen cooking fires, I decided to consider other types of extinguishers for my RV. These same considerations apply to home fire safety. You have several extinguisher choices but three are primarily applicable.

CO2 is intended for and most effective in class B and C fires. It is safe for electrical equipment and is used in buildings like stores, classrooms, vehicles, meeting rooms, and more. My problem with using a CO2 fire extinguisher in a confined RV and that I cannot breathe it.

Halotron is a clean, non conductive gas agent for class A, B, and C fires. It is safe for electrical equipment and the same facilities CO2 can be used in. It is not the best choice for kitchen fires. Halotron is what I chose for my RV and I purchased a 5.5 lb capacity. It fit near the door of my DP where my dry chemical fire extinguisher was located. Halotron is a great replacement for Halon 1211, which is still available but is not environmentally safe.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are inexpensive and sold at many physical and online stores. CO2 and Halotron are more expensive and harder to find. The Buckeye 7555B fire extinguisher I chose cost $210 and I consider this cheap in light of its fire fighting and non destructive properties. Other brands are available. I did need to purchase a mount suitable for the front of my RV. I found it on eBay for $15. I gave my old dry chemical fire extinguisher to an older RV owner in the park where I was staying but a suitable alternative is to put it in your car or truck. I chose not to do this as I drive a Hybrid and any fire would likely involve the electrical equipment installed in my car.

I still needed a fire extinguisher for kitchen fires. There are several aerosol brands available. I chose the First Alert Tundra but all similar brands are effective and inexpensive. Two cans cost less than $20. My DP has a center kitchen so I keep one can in a front cabinet and the other in my rear closet. I do not recommend keeping a kitchen fire extinguisher product in your kitchen because it might not be safe to try to retrieve it.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please stay safe.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:30 PM   #2
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I will be installing 2 of these "Watchdogs" in my RV in addition to the normal ABC portables.

https://www.htgsupply.com/products/t...guisher-12-kg/
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:48 PM   #3
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I see a Halotron 2.5 pound unit required 350 cubic feet of interior space or more to safely use. From the MSDS:


Precautionary Statements:P261:Avoid breathing vapors/sprayP271:Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area

P304+P340:IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathingP 312Call 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 upP501ispose of contents/container to an approved waste disposal plantInformation 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


We had Halon extinguishers in the control room where I worked and they were known to form Phosgene gas, a wargas, when it came in contact with hot metal. We had SCBA air packs to wear if we had to use them. I haven't noticed any of those on RV's. I don't know about this Halotron but it sounds less than ideal for use inside an RV. The MSDS also says this:


"Unusual fire and explosion hazards:The concentrated agent when applied to fire can produce toxic by-products specifically hydrogen halides, which can cause damage. Avoid inhalation of these materials by evacuating and ventilating the area."


Phosgene is a Hydrogen Halide.


http://www.halotron.com/pdf/Halotron1_SDS.pdf


There is no doubt that dry chem extinguishers are not ideal for use on a lot of equipment. But I'm not sure this is the best replacement.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:33 PM   #4
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I recently bought 2-5 lb rechargable fire extinguishers. One to mount in the fifth wheel just inside the door and the other to mount in the pickup bed near the tail gate. The 5 lb will replace the OEM 2 lb in the FW. The emergency plan is to exit the FW first and then have the choice to grab the FE by the door to fight the fire as an option.
Another camper in our park recently lost their FW due to a stove fire. The uninsured loss was largely due to the fire dept water damage and smoke. The quick use of a large FE would have lessened the damage and maybe resulted in a repairable FW. This FE may not be ideal for grease, but it will put out everything else on fire around the stove.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:53 PM   #5
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My fire extinguishers are located to serve one purpose. Give us time to get out. If I have a fire I am not wasting time trying to put it out all I'm going to do is make a path to the exit window or door which ever is closest.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
My fire extinguishers are located to serve one purpose. Give us time to get out. If I have a fire I am not wasting time trying to put it out all I'm going to do is make a path to the exit window or door which ever is closest.

Then you would have no need to carry a $50 fire extinguisher. I prefer to have to have options that a FE would provide! In the case of our cg fire, the stove fire could have been handled easily vs waiting for the fire dept to arrive and announce a total loss.
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Old 01-21-2020, 09:16 PM   #7
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32 years in the fire service and here's my take. EXIT the motorhome then consider fighting the fire. My choice of extinguisher 5 lb ABC (dry chem). The only hazard is once it is discharged in a confined space you will greatly reduce visibility and if inhaled could cause severe respiratory issues. I've seen a lot of people use an extinguisher and couldn't put out a fire to save their soul. Takes a little live practice and proper application. A 5 lb extinguisher can put out a lot of fire.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:27 PM   #8
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Phosgene is a Hydrogen Halide.

Functionally, it can be, but technically, it is not. There is no hydrogen in phosgene. However, in the presence of water, it produces hydrochloride acid (hydrogen halide). Phosgene is highly, highly (get it yet?) highly toxic.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve 716 View Post
I spent more than a month ...

I hope you find this information helpful. Please stay safe.
Dangerous advice is not helpful.

The only thing you need to know about fighting a fire in an RV is how fast you can get out and a safe distance away.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by followingsea View Post
Dangerous advice is not helpful.

The only thing you need to know about fighting a fire in an RV is how fast you can get out and a safe distance away.
Depends on who is trapped in the back of the RV.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve 716 View Post
I spent more than a month researching fire extinguisher types, function, and effectiveness. Most, if not all of your fire extinguisher(s) are of the dry chemical type. These are the least expensive of available types and are sold by home improvement, Walmart, Amazon, and other frequently visited stores.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are inexpensive, offer limited effectiveness for their intended uses, and they have serious issues you should be aware of.

1. You likely have 2.5 lb extinguishers and these are not adequate for many fire needs. They are typically rated as 1A5BC or 1A10BC and this classification covers basic use. The letters refer to (A) ordinary combustibles like wood and paper, (B) liquids and gasses not including kitchen greases and fats, and (C) electrical. The numbers refer to (1) the equivalent of 1.25 gallons of water and (5 or 10) an area of 5 or 10 square feet. The weight (2.5 lb) refers to the amount of fire suppression chemical in the extinguisher.

2. They must be turned upside down and the bottom hit firmly with a rubber mallet one or more times every six months to keep the chemicals from clumping and becoming ineffective if needed. Even after doing this some clumped chemical may remain and cannot be used.

3. The dry chemical used damages or destroys anything it comes in contact with, including electrical devices and wiring.

Given the limited applications and destructive properties of dry chemical fire extinguishers and the fact that they are not intended for kitchen cooking fires, I decided to consider other types of extinguishers for my RV. These same considerations apply to home fire safety. You have several extinguisher choices but three are primarily applicable.

CO2 is intended for and most effective in class B and C fires. It is safe for electrical equipment and is used in buildings like stores, classrooms, vehicles, meeting rooms, and more. My problem with using a CO2 fire extinguisher in a confined RV and that I cannot breathe it.

Halotron is a clean, non conductive gas agent for class A, B, and C fires. It is safe for electrical equipment and the same facilities CO2 can be used in. It is not the best choice for kitchen fires. Halotron is what I chose for my RV and I purchased a 5.5 lb capacity. It fit near the door of my DP where my dry chemical fire extinguisher was located. Halotron is a great replacement for Halon 1211, which is still available but is not environmentally safe.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are inexpensive and sold at many physical and online stores. CO2 and Halotron are more expensive and harder to find. The Buckeye 7555B fire extinguisher I chose cost $210 and I consider this cheap in light of its fire fighting and non destructive properties. Other brands are available. I did need to purchase a mount suitable for the front of my RV. I found it on eBay for $15. I gave my old dry chemical fire extinguisher to an older RV owner in the park where I was staying but a suitable alternative is to put it in your car or truck. I chose not to do this as I drive a Hybrid and any fire would likely involve the electrical equipment installed in my car.

I still needed a fire extinguisher for kitchen fires. There are several aerosol brands available. I chose the First Alert Tundra but all similar brands are effective and inexpensive. Two cans cost less than $20. My DP has a center kitchen so I keep one can in a front cabinet and the other in my rear closet. I do not recommend keeping a kitchen fire extinguisher product in your kitchen because it might not be safe to try to retrieve it.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please stay safe.
Wow - you did your homework. Nice job!
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
My fire extinguishers are located to serve one purpose. Give us time to get out. If I have a fire I am not wasting time trying to put it out all I'm going to do is make a path to the exit window or door which ever is closest.

I have insurance. I have a fire extinguisher in the bedroom and beside the camper door. Never thought about having one in the truck for the camper.
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:36 AM   #13
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Do not fight a fire in an RV. Get all the people out, hopefully with your pets, then let it burn. You have, maybe, 30 seconds to accomplish this. Running for a fire extinguisher in a panic then fumbling over the latch and trying to figure out how to make it work is just a waste of very valuable time. Use that time to get everyone out of the RV. An RV fire goes from "Oops, where's the extinguisher" to "OMG that's a raging inferno!" in a matter of seconds. They burn like last year's Christmas tree. It's hot and fast!

Halotron is an asphyxiant and isn't safe in an RV. You said you got a 5.5 pound capacity. That size Halotron 1 extinguisher can discharge in about 10 seconds, rendering the air in your RV deadly. It requires a minimum of 700 square feet to be safely used in a confined space. A typical RV is 1/3 that size. If you use that extinguisher, you will likely save the RV, but might kill yourself in the process. It can produce toxic fumes when exposed to fire, especially so in a confined space like an RV. It can damage your liver and nervous system. Please don't use Halotron. Get a kitchen extinguisher if you want an extinguisher for kitchen fires. It's class K.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:57 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Itchytoe View Post
Do not fight a fire in an RV. Get all the people out, hopefully with your pets, then let it burn. You have, maybe, 30 seconds to accomplish this. Running for a fire extinguisher in a panic then fumbling over the latch and trying to figure out how to make it work is just a waste of very valuable time. Use that time to get everyone out of the RV. An RV fire goes from "Oops, where's the extinguisher" to "OMG that's a raging inferno!" in a matter of seconds. They burn like last year's Christmas tree. It's hot and fast!
This is precisely the reason I am opting for the automatic dispensing ABC dry-chem extinguishers ( "Watchdogs") on both ends of my RV. It will save me the fumbling & buy me hopefully a few extra seconds to get me & kitties out.
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