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OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:45 am
by DaveK

Fire extinguishers are one of those things that get little attention, are often neglected, and rarely used. This is probably because they are not something that we use often, (if ever), they are not hip, like an RTT (roof top tent), and nobody is really drawn to your vehicle to check out the fire extinguishers.

BUT, once the need arises however, the fire extinguisher quickly becomes one of the most important pieces of equipment that we carry. The Net will focus mostly on fire extinguishers that can be carried in a vehicle, but the information that we discuss can also apply to others uses, such as home and office.

I will be posting pictures and links to various sources for product information, fire suppression techniques, and suggested mounting options. Check back again in the next few days for updates. Also, remember that you can do an advance check-in for the net by posting here.

Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:48 am
by toms
True Story

Jim and his buddy Tim were doing a pre-run on permitted but seldom-used trails in the vicinity of Tonopah, Nev. back in August. They stopped to check the map and both noticed the smell of burning grass. They did a 360 inspection and found nothing. Wildfires blazed in the Sierras so that might have been the source for this odor. They resumed their drive.

After a full day of driving, Jim stopped for another map check. He noticed smoke and flames billowing up the left side of his vehicle. Jim grabbed his 10 lb. dry chemical fire extinguisher. Lying on the ground he could see 4”-6” flames surrounding the transmission on both sides. A half dozen short blasts on each side of the transmission extinguished the flames.

A thorough inspection revealed that the area above the skid plate had become packed with dried vegetation. The front edge of his skid plate had lopped off the tops of grasses and brush as they rolled along. This vegetation, tinder dry from the hot summer, needed just a heat source to light up. (Later, Jim discovered scorched grasses in the open pocket around the plastic gas tank skid pad. Had that area ignited, he would’ve had a really serious incident on his hands.)

Jim’s experience, though uncommonly severe, serves as a good reminder of a hazard four wheelers can face. Driving through tall or heavy vegetation presents a real fire hazard. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the undercarriage whenever you stop —whether for lunch, photo opps or a 10-100. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to stop frequently if you’re driving in those conditions. It doesn’t take long for the vegetation to build up.

Look inside every nook and cranny underneath. You’ll be surprised where that stuff turns up. In Jim’s case, he found debris packed in the transmission cross member the next day. Don’t stop inspecting until you’re positive you’re clear of any fire hazard.

If and when a fire starts—whether under the frame or under the hood—you’ll want a chance to fight it. A good fire extinguisher is a must for every 4WD vehicle.

Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:29 am
by toms
Product Spot Light
Element Fire Extinguisher

I bought a new kind of fire extinguisher a few months ago. It was a bit expensive $79.95. However, it fits in a space in the back where it would be difficult to put even a 2 ½ pound fire extinguisher. I wanted a second extinguisher near the rear tail gate.

The name is Element. It is made in Italy and It looks a lot like a road flare. It is 11.75 inches tall and 1.2 inches in diameter. It weights .6 of a pound (compared to a 5 pound unit which actually weighs 7 pounds considering the tank it is in). It is a one-time use product and you need to buy a new one when used.
Element 50 lm.jpg
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Here is a quote from the web site.
“Element uses a tested and proven technology, created for the space program, that fights fires on the molecular level. By chemically interrupting the chain of combustion, Element safely and effectively puts out fires without the mess, toxicity, or danger associated with a traditional extinguisher.”

High lights
• Claimed to be the world’s smallest and longest lasting
• The agent is potassium nitrate based
• Element discharges a totally clean & non-toxic fire-fighting gas that leaves no residue behind.
• Non-toxic discharge will not remove breathing oxygen in confined spaces
• Eco-Friendly, Child & Pet safe
• Discharge time is 50 seconds for the smallerE50 unit and 100 seconds for the larger E100 unit
• An E50 model will discharge for 50 seconds; almost 5X the fire fighting time offered by a standard 5lb fire bottle.
• Non pressurized and never expires
• Will not freeze. Works in all temperatures (-140F to +320F)

The gas discharged by the Element extinguisher is heavier than air and will fill all the nooks and crannies of the engine compartment to both extinguish the fire in hard to reach areas but also to prevent the fire from re-starting while the area cools.

Had this been a traditional pressurized extinguisher, the discharge jet would have blown the liquid out of the bowl causing a large fire ball.

A test also shows how Element’s ‘no-thrust’ discharge does not spread the liquid (as most often seen in cooking pan fires in the kitchen).

This video shows how an operating Element fire extinguisher will continue to work even if placed under water. Once started, an Element cannot be blown or drowned out even in the harshest of environmental conditions.
Element in 80 lm.jpg
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From Wikipedia
Potassium nitrate is one of several nitrogen-containing compounds collectively referred to as saltpeter or saltpetre. Major uses of potassium nitrate are in fertilizers, tree stump removal, rocket propellants and fireworks. It is one of the major constituents of gunpowder (black powder).
When burned with the free radicals of a fire's flame, it produces potassium carbonate

Ignition lust like a flare lm.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:05 am
by DaveK


The discussion here on this website, and on the net, are not intended to make recommendations on any particular type of fire extinguisher, but solely to offer information which should be incorporated into your research and education regarding the type of FE you need. Also beware that certain types of FEs must be accompanied by some form of training, or at least a sufficient familiarization of the risks associated therewith. In other words, do your homework.

For the average consumer, and in particular for the off-roading crowd, there are a limited number of fire suppression agents that are available for vehicle use . Obviously, our fire extinguishers must be portable, easy to handle, relatively small, and readily available. For these reasons, our net will not cover large scale industrial agents, such as certain inert gasses, like argon. We will also not deal with large scale fire suppression systems, such as you may find in industrial and commercial settings.

For these reasons, we will focus on 4 basic types of suppression agents and their containers, all of which are suitable for the types of fires that are foreseeable. There is an additional 5th FE that we will examine in greater detail on the net, but you can get a preview by checking out post #3, above. Finding the right type and size of fire extinguishers then will be our goal. These 4 suppression agents are:

1. Dry chemical
2. CO2
3. Halon
4. Halotron

Remember, this is an open net, and if you have a particular agent of which you are aware, or use, post up.

We will discuss the pros and cons of each of these 4 agents and make our recommendations. The process of selecting the right FE needs to take into consideration the specs for each. But first..............


Most fire extinguishers have a UL classification system that uses both letters and numbers. The letters represent the type of fire on which the FE can be used, as follows:

a. A for ORDINARY COMBUSTIBLES: wood, paper, rubber, fabrics and many plastics
b. B for FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS & GASES: gasoline, oils, paint, lacquer and tar

In connection with these letter designations, there are numbers that express effectiveness. For example, a 1A designation means that the FE is rated for class A fires and will dispense the equivalent of 1.25 gallons of water. A 2A designation means that the FE is rated for class A fires, but dispenses the equivalent of 2.5 gallons of water, and so on..

The effectiveness of class B FEs is measured by square footage. For example, a 10-B rating would mean the the FE is capable of handling a 10 square foot fire.

Only class A and B fires have this numerical designation.


UL has established commonly accepted standards for FE performance, and your fire extinguisher should contain this information on the label. If it doesn't, you should think twice about buying it or keeping it. At the very least, find out why it was not on the label. Sometimes the UL information is a little difficult to find, but it should be there, like this:

UL Certification.jpg
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In addition, there are other indicators on the FE that will tell you the types of fire for which it is suitable. While not a substitute for the UL certification, it can be helpful, especially when determining which FE to grab for different types of fire. Something like this:

ABC Designation.jpg
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There is not one agent that is perfect for all applications. Some have broader or more specialized uses, but with this advantage comes some risks, all of which you should be aware. Do your homework!!!
  • A. Dry Chemical FEs

    Dry chemical agents are probably the most commonly used in FEs, and for good reasons. Most are suitable for all (or most types) of fires, they are relatively inexpensive, more effective in windy environments, effective as a fire extinguishing agent, and available just about anywhere FEs are sold. All that makes for a well rounded FE that should be in every vehicle and home.

    But beware!!! There are two concerns that should be an important part of your FE decision choices:
    • Inhalation hazard
    • potential for corrosion
    • Extremely messy and difficult to clean-up
    Here is why:

    Dry Chemical Contents.jpg
    Dry Chemical Contents.jpg (304.49 KiB) Viewed 485 times

  • B. Halon and Halitron FEs

    Advantages of Halon
    • 1. The most effective fire extinguishing agent
    • 2. Halon and it's substitute, Halitron, are generally considered to be "clean fire extinguishing agents." The National Fire Protection Association defines, a "Clean Agent" as "an electrically non-conducting, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation." This is clearly an advantage when it must be used on or near sensitive equipment.
    • Very low concentrations of Halon are required to be effective
    Disadvantages of Halon and Halitron
    • 1. Expensive
    • 2. Ineffective in windy environments
    Here is what the H3R company has to say about Halon (
    Halon is a liquefied, compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. Halon 1211 (a liquid streaming agent) and Halon 1301 (a gaseous flooding agent) leave no residue and are remarkably safe for human exposure. Halon is rated for class "B" (flammable liquids) and "C" (electrical fires), but it is also effective on class "A" (common combustibles) fires. Halon 1211 and Halon 1301 are low-toxicity, chemically stable compounds that, as long as they remain contained in cylinders, are easily recyclable.
    And, this (
    A key benefit of Halon, as a clean agent, is its ability to extinguish fire without the production of residues that could damage the assets being protected. Halon has been used for fire and explosion protection throughout the 20th century, and remains an integral part of the safety plans in many of today's manufacturing, electronic and aviation companies. Halon protects computer and communication rooms throughout the electronics industry; it has numerous military applications on ships, aircraft and tanks and helps ensure safety on all commercial aircraft.

  • C. CO2 FEs

    In this writers experience and opinion, CO2 FEs are not nearly as popular as either dry chemical, Halon or Halitron. That is not to say that they are not effective for fire fighting purposes, because they are. Keeping in mind however, that this net is primarily centered around FEs that are suitable for the vehicle dependent 4WD off-road crowd, our focus on CO2 FEs will take this into account.

    These FEs rely on carbon dioxide (CO2) to fight fire and they are considered "clean agents. Carbon dioxide is the same stuff that compromises the air we breath, the percentage of which is shrouded by the mania that surrounds the climate change debate. It's is also the stuff that is emitted, in gargantuan quantities, by volcanoes and other naturally occurring events. But despite all this, CO2 does offer an effective addition to the market of available FEs for the 4WD crowd..

    • A non-conductor, so can be used on live electrical equipment.
    • Leaves no residue and is not as damaging to electrical equipment as powder.
    • An effective fire fighting agent
    • dangerous and potentially lethal in confined spaces or areas lacking good ventilation, as it dilutes oxygen content. Training and education of these risks must occur
    • Limited cooling properties and no protection against reigniting.
    • A non-insulated horn can cause frost burn if user accidentally touches the horn when in use.
    • Not particularly effective on CLass A fires as the CO2 dissipates quickly and re-ignition is more likely

  • 3. Amerex is one of the most well known and largest manufacturers of fire extinguishers. They offer a full range of fire extinguishers that can be found here:

Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:06 am
by DaveK

There are not a lot of choices when it comes to pre-made mounting brackets. In most cases, the FE manufacturer includes a bracket with the unit. For the off-roading crowd, you want something that is as robust as possible and that means that it must have sufficient mounting holes for a secure attachment and as many straps as possible. The H3R company offers 4 different kinds of brackets, and one of them should work for your needs.

From the H3R website ( ):

1. Single strap steel bracket

Single strap steel bracket.gif
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2. Double strap steel bracket

Double strap steel bracket.gif
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3. Single strap steel bracket with a floor

Single strap steel bracket with floor.gif
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4. Extreme duty, double strap, quick release bracket

This is the description by H3R:
Speed is critical when deploying a fire extinguisher. Count on our new Extreme Duty quick release fire extinguisher brackets to allow fast action while withstanding rigorous use. Ideal for aviation, terrestrial and marine applications.

Tough, Functional & Lightweight

Fire extinguisher quickly releases from bracket
Fiberglass reinforced nylon construction and corrosion resistant hardware
Designed to meet MIL SPEC 810G (test in progress)
Tested to withstand inertial loads in excess of 27G in all directions
Fire extinguisher cannot be accidentally disengaged from bracket
Fits H3R Aviation fire extinguishers with 3" diameter cylinders (C352TS/C, C354TS & B385TS/C)
"Pull to Release" flag enhances visibility
Does not obscure fire extinguisher nameplate
Weighs a scant 14 oz!
HD Fire Extinguisher Mount.jpg
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For all you "top 10" fans out there, check out these sites for additional ideas on FE brackets:

Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:08 am
by DaveK

1, Effectively operating a FE is quite simple. Most fire extinguishers have instructions on their label, complete with international symbols, including non gender specific humans. Quite helpful!!!

Comedy aside, having the proper FE is great, but having some of the fundamentals on how to properly use them can be just as important. Some fire departments offer training, and a call to yours may get you the help you need.

Here is a good start, using the PASS system:
2. Keeping track of required maintenance can be as simple as the installation of a tag on your FE that indicates when it was last serviced or purchased. Pre-made ones are usually available from the store that checks or recharges your FE, or you can get a whole fistful of blank ones from Amazon, on which you can write the appropriate date.

Date Tag-1.jpg
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FE Tabs.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:43 am
by DaveK

This chart offers a comparison of similar FEs, based on the size of the vessel in which the agent is contained. Four agents are compared, but we have included a comparison discussion below for the Element Fire Extinguisher, detailed above in post #3. While these comparisons don't tell the entire story, they do give some information to help you make your choices.

Agent Comparison.jpg
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Offering an equal comparison between the Element FE and the other conventional FEs is difficult, as the Element comes in a unique package, unlike any of the other FEs. Comparisons however, can be made, and to say the least, the Element offers very impressive advantages.
  • Advantages
    • Total discharge time is 50 seconds
    • No routine service is required
    • Can be stored in damp or wet environments
    • Clean agent (or minuscule, they say)
    • Non corrosive
    • Non toxic
    • Useful temperature range - -140F to 320F
    • No moving parts
    • Smaller and lighter thab conventional FEs
    • ABC&K rated.
  • Disadvantages and Concerns
    • Currently lacks UL certification
    • Brand new product. Not so much a criticism as a caution
    • once started, cannot be stopped until fully discharged
    • A little pricey
No information on the discharge range.

Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:40 pm
by JackM-KK6WXQ
Check in for tonight's net please-
Jack M. KK6WXQ
Kevin P. KK6DGL
John D. KM6FXI

Thank you!

Here is a mounting option showing the mounting bracket from Dave's Post (Post #5 item 4). This is mounted in my Jeep to the back of the roll bar where wither driver or passenger can pull the pin and access the extinguisher. I love this mount because it is very sturdy, it does not rattle, and it's very easy to access the extinguisher.
Mounting Option.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:21 pm
by Jeff-OAUSA
Please check me in.


Re: OAUSA Net - July 25, 2019 - Fire Extinguishers

Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:27 pm
by NotAMog
Please check in -

John - KN6VL

Bruce - KD6GCO