Fire Extinguishers & Systems

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A fire extinguisher is a metal cylinder, and is filled with a particular material, used for smothering fire. When the lever at the top of the cylinder,is pressed, the smothering material is expelled at high pressure, much like the design of an aerosol can. A siphon tube extends from the bottom of the cylinder, to the top of the extinguisher. A spring mounted valve blocks the passageway from the siphon, to the nozzle. At the top of the of the cylinder there is a smaller cylinder, which is filled with compressed gas, and liquid carbon dioxide, which is the propellant used. When the lever is pushed, it puts pressure on an actuating rod, which presses the spring-mounted valve down, in order to open up the passageway to the nozzle. The bottom of the actuation rod has a sharp point, which pierces the gas cylinder's release valve. The compressed gas escapes, applying downward pressure on the smothering material, thus driving the material up the siphon, and out the nozzle. The proper way to use a fire extinguisher is, to aim it directly at the fuel, rather than the flames, and to apply in a streaming, sweeping motion.

According the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. public fire departments in 2004 responded to an estimated 266,500 highway-type vehicle fires. These fires claimed 520 lives and caused $969 million in direct property damage. NFPA estimates that one (17%) of every six reported fires involves a highway-type vehicle and 13% of all civilian fire deaths. On average, more than 30 highway vehicle fires were reported per hour. More than two-thirds of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions. When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your vehicle there are a few things to know. All fire extinguishers should be mounted in the vehicle, in order to prevent rolling around, and potentially causing damage to the extinguisher, or the interior of the vehicle. An unsecured fire extinguisher can cause injuries to the occupants in the vehicle. The extinguisher should be visible, and easy to access. The mounting bracket should be mounted on a strong stable surface. The most common location to mount a fire extinguisher, is in front,or behind the seat. There are several types of fire extinguishers available, which one should become familiar with prior to purchasing. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) classifies, and rates, fire extinguishers on their ability to put out various classes of fires.

The three categories of household fires are: Categories of fires Description Type of extinguisher Class A: Which are fires involving combustible materials, such as wood, cloth and paper. Those extinguishers are rated ABC Class B: Which are flammable liquid fires, including kitchen grease. NEVER use water on this type of fire! These extinguishers are rated ABC or BC Class C: Fires involving energized electrical equipment. These extinguishers are rated ABC or BC

UL also assigns a numerical rating before the letter classification to denote the size of the fire it is able to extinguish. For example, a 10B:C fire extinguisher has twice the firefighting capacity against a flammable liquid and/or electrical fire as a 5B:C extinguisher (Note: "C" class fire extinguishers do not have a numerical rating).

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