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Old 02-19-2018, 03:24 PM   #1
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Default Fire in a B

I didn't get a fridge fitting tightened properly, finger tight actually, turned the fridge on, walked around the coach to go into the house, and noticed a bright orange glow behind the fridge grill, it was after sunset.

Needless to say I was s.....n' and a gettin' opening up the coach back door and feeling around for the halon extinguisher (almost no one has a halon extinguisher.) Had to yank pretty hard to break the security seal then only one squirt through the grill put it out. I'm convinced only halon could do that through the very restrictive grill. The extinguisher gauge is still in the green and the plastic grill undamaged.

The halon bottle (1211) will now have a permanent mount on the door post. I was lucky to find it in the dark.

Damage is a melted control box and some scorched wires. I haven't started the repair yet. New control board and box on the way. The fridge appears to still work but we won't try it again till after the scorched wires are fixed.

I have halon extinguishers due to an aviation heritage and trust no other. It stayed in the coach unused seven years with the gauge in the green.

I missed acting on a propane smell. I did use a portable propane detector but didn't remove the grill and didn't get an alarm. My portable propane detector is suspect.

From here on I will use a leak down test and use it often. I'll have two halon extinguishers, one up front and one on a back door post.

Halon 1211 isn't available anymore. H3R is, I suppose it functions the same. I killed a little ozone.

Harry 2003 C190P Almost didn't have it anymore!
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:40 PM   #2
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At my last job we had several hazardous areas that had automatic fire extinguishing systems on them, and yes we did get to see them work 3 times ,In the early years they were all halon but got converted to CO2 if they didn't pass inspections due to age or if they went off and needed refilling. We had one machine that had fires on both halon and CO2, and both appeared to work equally well. I can't say if that will translate to portable extinguishers or not, but I was really surprised how well the CO2 did work, as we were very concerned when the switch overs had to be done.

We carry a dry chemical extinguisher like most folks, as I couldn't find a CO2 one that had enough capacity at a size we liked. How big is you halon one?
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:44 PM   #3
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The Halon is the little guy at 1.25lbs. There is a .25lb version I carried in the plane. Amerex 344T is the current part number with H3R. I'm told you can't find small CO2 extinguishers.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:08 PM   #4
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By their very nature CO2 extinguishers are heavy because the pressure required to keep CO2 in liquid form inside the cylinder is much higher than with HALON. The critical pressure of CO2 is over 1000PSI
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyFry View Post
By their very nature CO2 extinguishers are heavy because the pressure required to keep CO2 in liquid form inside the cylinder is much higher than with HALON. The critical pressure of CO2 is over 1000PSI
That explains it.
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Old 02-19-2018, 09:37 PM   #6
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Follow up:
Took the little Halon extinguisher down to get recharged. The gauge was still in the green so I didn't think it needed it but they said I had used 16oz out of 20. I was close to done!

Cost for recharge of Halon 1211 was $55. $44 for Halon and $10 for a neck seal and a valve seal.

Bottom line is you might consider the next size up. The little guy certainly did the job.
Harry
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:28 AM   #7
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\ We had one machine that had fires on both halon and CO2, and both appeared to work equally well. I can't say if that will translate to portable extinguishers or not, but I was really surprised how well the CO2 did work, as we were very concerned when the switch overs had to be done.

IIRC. one big difference between halon and CO2 is that CO2 can kill you. Unlike CO, it isn't toxic but it can displace sufficient air in a confined space to starve you of oxygen resulting in suffocation. Halon doesn't displace air and consequently is much safer for fire control in limited spaces.

I think discontinuing the availability of halon is an example of bureaucracy gone berserk. Shutting down a CFC like R-12 was understandable. There were millions of AC units with hoses that migrated R-12 into the atmosphere plus facilities that wouldn't trouble themselves to recover R-12 when servicing AC units. But none of these issues present themselves with a Halon extinguisher which is in as sealed container and is released only during relatively rare emergency conditions. How often could this fire control equipment ever need to be used that would result in a significant release of halon into the atmosphere? Instead, we are mandated to use ABC chemical extinguishers that for all intents and purposes, destroys the equipment you are trying to protect, relegating it to a junk yard.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:42 AM   #8
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From my reading they just stopped the manufacture of halon 1211. They could find no chemical way to dispose of it so they just mandated the capture of it and permission to reuse. H3R, the replacement, self destructs in less time than 1211 but is still damaging to the ozone. My extinguisher was refilled with reclaimed 1211.

I failed to ask if H3R was as good as 1211.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:49 AM   #9
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Fire extinguisher is on my to do list. Is H3R chemistry the best in limiting destruction available today? I tried asking in Home Depot but folks were not very familiar with extinguishers.
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Old 02-20-2018, 05:59 AM   #10
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I think so. Pilotshop.com has the best price that I could be sure was H3R. The little guy is Amerex model 344T or 344TC for chrome.

The model of my halon 1211 is Amerex 344

I'm probably the only RV in 50 miles with Halon. It is only still current in the aviation world.
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Old 02-20-2018, 02:24 PM   #11
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IIRC. one big difference between halon and CO2 is that CO2 can kill you. Unlike CO, it isn't toxic but it can displace sufficient air in a confined space to starve you of oxygen resulting in suffocation. Halon doesn't displace air and consequently is much safer for fire control in limited spaces.

I think discontinuing the availability of halon is an example of bureaucracy gone berserk. Shutting down a CFC like R-12 was understandable. There were millions of AC units with hoses that migrated R-12 into the atmosphere plus facilities that wouldn't trouble themselves to recover R-12 when servicing AC units. But none of these issues present themselves with a Halon extinguisher which is in as sealed container and is released only during relatively rare emergency conditions. How often could this fire control equipment ever need to be used that would result in a significant release of halon into the atmosphere? Instead, we are mandated to use ABC chemical extinguishers that for all intents and purposes, destroys the equipment you are trying to protect, relegating it to a junk yard.
I actually went through the whole CO2 hazard issue with our safety consultant at the time. Long story short, regulations changed to require a 60 second delay from fire alarm to CO2 discharge to allow personnel to get out of the affected enclosure and we had one of the fires under the new rules almost right away. The delay made it so the building nearly burned down. In our case, because the enclosure was small and could be cleared in seconds (if people weren't out in 5 seconds they were incapacitated and time wouldn't help), we decided to move the manual CO2 release override to right by the enclosure from the normal location at the bottles so we could trigger ASAP. The enclosure was on a roll coating machine so full of toluene, and paper, even some MEK so burned very quickly if ignited. Our decision was based on the fact that if someone hadn't gotten out, they were better off being knocked out by the CO2 than being burned for a minute, or longer if the fire got away and was too big for the fire system. The safety guy was an EMT, so said that CO2 overcome people can be revived with CPR pretty readily, so that is the way we wrote the instructions and trained. Luckily, we never had anyone trapped in an area during a fire so it never got tested. We had on very small fire after that and the operators we out is seconds and triggered the CO2 manually and we got no damage and no injuries. That was the last fire, as the machine manufacturer finally figured out what was causing the fires.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:23 PM   #12
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I am familiar with CO2 flood systems on ships where they are used in engine and switchboard rooms. They could be released manually or automatically by a thermal. A horn would sound when released and personnel exited ASAP.
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I am familiar with CO2 flood systems on ships where they are used in engine and switchboard rooms. They could be released manually or automatically by a thermal. A horn would sound when released and personnel exited ASAP.
Very similar, except our rules dictated that the horn sound first, then a delay to let people out of the room before the CO2 went off. That is what nearly made us lose the building.
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