Fire safety for your car - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kids3fish
What's an ABC spasso?

Dr Bob - that is just plain nuts!! If the guy HADN'T done anything the insurer could have been looking at paying for a write-off! If true, the company is just looking for any excuse not to pay a genuine claim.
ABC is the grade of the extinguisher. It can put out an A fire (paper, wood) a B fire (gas, flamible liquid) or C (electrical fire) but it can't put out a D fire (flamable metals; magniesium(sp?)). If it is a D fire your in a Chem lab and will have some serious equipment.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spasso
I carry a 2.5 lb Halon up front with me so I can fight my way into the trunk for the 5 lb ABC. I hope I never have to use the ABC because of it's caustic nature but if I did then the fire would have been large enough to warrant an engine out cleanup/repair anyway.
Halon is a very effective firefighting agent, it will put out the fire. The problem with it is re-flash. It provides no cooling effect so if you still have heat and fuel and the wind blows the gas away and brings in fresh oxygen it will relight.

So I like your theory of using the Halon to fight your way to the dry chemical. You can put the fire out with the Halon and then stand by with the dry chem in case of re-flash. If it is a small fire it probably won't have enough heat stored to re-light on its own. If it does you can just hit it again with the Halon.

The other problem is that Halon is a greenhouse gas and contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer so it is highly regulated. In fact, in the U.S. it has been illegal since 1998 for anyone to newly manufacture Halon blends. That is why it is so expensive; they are still using the old stocks and when its gone its gone. There is a new agent called Halotron that is supposedly just as good and is environmentally freindly.

I found a great fire extinguisher that I use and recommended it in this post:
http://www.ferrariforum.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2449

Capt. Pete
'79 308 GTS, '82 Jeep CJ7 Jamboree
"Time is what prevents everything from happening all at once."
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 07:47 AM
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Hi Pete,
I just read a better part of the 'FireAde' website and this sounds like the stuff to have! I didn't see anything larger than the 16 oz. in 'bottle' form. I was hoping maybe a 5 lb premix under pressure might be available. Is Halotron the main ingredient of the FireAde or are we talking about something different? Would I be able to refill my Halon bottle with Halotron?

If there is any way I can avoid using the ABC I'm all for it! Nasty!

As far as electrical fires go, the first thing I installed on my 308 was a battery master cut off switch that can be operated from inside the car. In the event of an electrical fire and because the battery is buried below the spare, it would probably take up to 5 minutes to get to and another 5 minutes to disconnect. I felt the master switch was a must. The power MUST be shut off before the fire can be put out. Don't ask me how I know!

The switch is made by Flaming River and is mounted next to the battery on the drivers side. It is operated by a push-pull behind the brake and clutch pedal. All I have to do is tap it with my toe and the entire car is DEAD. The switch is rated at 1500 amps surge and 800 amps continuous (if I remember correctly). I have a part number for those interested.

SPASSO
308 V-12 Conversion click here.
"Oh yes, that is one of the very best ways to break these and it is also pretty dangerous. You really shouldn't do that". - mk e.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 02:07 PM
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Spasso,
The Halotron is an enviromentally freindly substitute for the Halon. But it is still expensive (around $90 for a 2.5 lb). You will not be able to refill your Halon extinguisher with Halotron. In fact, it is illegal in the U.S. (since 1998) for you to discharge your Halon extinguisher for any purpose other than in an emergency. I would hang on to your Halon extinguisher until it is no longer useable for you (pressure drop, rust, unsightly, etc) or after 12 years from when you got it. You should then bring it to your local fire station and they should be able to return it to the manufacturer for proper recovery of the Halon (or at least tell you who to bring it to).

The FireAde is something different entirely. It is a wet chemical and the composition is proprietory. They won't tell you whats in it. But it is environmentally freindly, biodegradable and the rating is 1A10B so I wouldn't worry about its small size. Your 2.5 lb Halon extinguisher is rated at 5BC. So the 16 oz can of FireAde should put out a class B fire twice the size your 2.5 lb Halon is capable of. To attack a 10B fire with CO2 you would need a 10lb extinguisher! (The NFPA definition of a 10B fire is a 25 square foot pan of Heptane).

Your ABC extinguisher in the trunk is probably rated at 2A20BC if it is a cheap one and 3A40BC if it is a good one. But like you said, you'd rather not use that if you don't have to.

At $20 the FireAde is cheap and I praticed with one in our outside fireplace (even had my wife practice with it). It does work. I've only seen the 16 oz can available for the consumer but I do know they have it in a 55 gal drum for professional firefighters.

PS - Good job on the battery cut-off switch. You can eliminate the source of ignition and then you are just left with a class A or class B fire! I do want to do this to my car also!

Capt. Pete
'79 308 GTS, '82 Jeep CJ7 Jamboree
"Time is what prevents everything from happening all at once."
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 02:54 PM
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My main concerns would be an electrically-based fire in the cabin and a fuel-based fire in the engine compartment.

Being only 12V the "electrical" nature of the former probably isn't that significant, and if the power wasn't immediately disconnected reignition via arcing doesn't sound too hard to handle. It would be a different matter in an accident however, where fuel spilllage and power-shorting could both be present.

Halon extinguishers were banned in Aust long ago - I had to hand a very nice one back in during the 80's.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kids3fish
My main concerns would be an electrically-based fire in the cabin and a fuel-based fire in the engine compartment.

Being only 12V the "electrical" nature of the former probably isn't that significant, and if the power wasn't immediately disconnected reignition via arcing doesn't sound too hard to handle. It would be a different matter in an accident however, where fuel spilllage and power-shorting could both be present.

Halon extinguishers were banned in Aust long ago - I had to hand a very nice one back in during the 80's.
Even 12V can do major damage. It happened to my brother's RX-7 and luckly he got the fire out. Take two square 9V batteries and plug them into each other (the little square ones for portables). Watch what happenes (oh the memories of being a dumb kid :nuts
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kids3fish
My main concerns would be an electrically-based fire in the cabin and a fuel-based fire in the engine compartment.

Being only 12V the "electrical" nature of the former probably isn't that significant, and if the power wasn't immediately disconnected reignition via arcing doesn't sound too hard to handle. It would be a different matter in an accident however, where fuel spilllage and power-shorting could both be present.

Halon extinguishers were banned in Aust long ago - I had to hand a very nice one back in during the 80's.
Have you ever heard the saying "It's not the volts that kills you, its the amperage."? Sure a small wire will spark and the fuse will pop. That is what it is there for. But you take the main battery cable, the ground cable, or the altenator output wire and you have some serious juice there. I know of Jeepers who have made trail repairs by hooking up a few batteries in series and actually welded broken parts with them.
And don't forget, the batteries power the coils which can put out in excess of 50,000 volts. Obviously enough to ignite a fuel/air mixture. That is what they are there for.

But I agree with you, a class C fire in the passenger compartment would be bad, but also be very rare because of the fused protection and lack of readily combustible fuel. If one were to catch though, it could get very hot, fairly rapidly, spread quickly and be very hard to extinguish. Halon would be the preferred agent to catch this one quickly. An engine fire is more likely because of the highly flammable fuel available but it is easier to control and cause minimum damage with a simple extinguisher.

Of course, we have been talking about worse case scenarios. The best protection is prevention. Keep the electricity contained within the insulation and the fuel within the hoses and you should be OK. Be careful with batteries, be careful with fuel, no problems. A quote I have always liked is "Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst."

I didn't know that Halon extinguishers were banned and had to be turned in in Aussie. Over here you can still have them, manufacturers can still make and sell the extinguishers, they just can't make anymore Halon. They have to use what they have or use recycled Halon. I looked it up and we haven't made anymore Halon since 1994. That explains why Halon is so expensive.

The other interesting fact - The exception is Aviation. The FAA mandates Halon extinguishing systems on commercial planes. And the EPA has made an exception to the ban on the production of Halon for aviation use.

Capt. Pete
'79 308 GTS, '82 Jeep CJ7 Jamboree
"Time is what prevents everything from happening all at once."
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 05:41 PM
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Good points, Pete. I was reacting to something I read the other day (but can't think where - maybe here?) which was making the point that electical systems below 50V could still be handled OK by water-based extinguishers if necessary.

It was interesting helping out one of my kids with a high-school chemistry project recently, where the limitations of conducting 12V across a water gap was apparent. I know that dropping a spanner across a car battery's terminals will get the party happenin' but I'm not sure about bridging the circuit with water.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-04-2004, 06:24 PM
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4kids3fish wrote:
Good points, Pete. I was reacting to something I read the other day (but can't think where - maybe here?) which was making the point that electical systems below 50V could still be handled OK by water-based extinguishers if necessary.



I'll tell you something about 12 volts that happened to me. This was long ago, I was with my first wife then and I worked down at the boatyard. I was tightening a battery cable with a pair of pliers (with non-insulating handles) and my wedding ring contacted the other terminal. My wedding ring instantly went white hot and I jumped off the boat over to the dock and stuck my hand in the ocean to cool it and took my wedding ring off. I went back and found that the were pliers welded together. You could see the weld marks on my ring where it was contacting the pliers and the battery terminal. The scars from that wedding ring lasted way longer than the marriage.

Never use water on any electrical fire at any voltage! The only requirement of a class C fire extinguisher is that it be non-conductive. Thats it. Once you have all the power off you are dealing with a class A or B fire. (which it just so happens water is the best at putting out) If you still have an active class C fire and you put something conductive on it you will make the fire worse, or worst case, kill yourself. Ok, I know I am being a little dramatic but not many of us deal with uncontrolled fire situations and safety is the first thing. Save life first, save property second.

Capt. Pete
'79 308 GTS, '82 Jeep CJ7 Jamboree
"Time is what prevents everything from happening all at once."
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-05-2004, 03:02 PM
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Good advice Pete. I'm sure there's a C&W song in there somewhere about that weddin' ring. :green:
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-08-2004, 06:13 AM
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Thanks for the information Pete. I have earmarked the FireAde site so I can order some bottles to replace the ABC.

This is why I love the internet and forums like this. 20 years ago it would have been 10 times harder to get the exchange of information we have here.

By the way, nice Scuderia Wheel Horse you have there.

SPASSO
308 V-12 Conversion click here.
"Oh yes, that is one of the very best ways to break these and it is also pretty dangerous. You really shouldn't do that". - mk e.
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