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Old 03-30-2017, 05:26 PM   #1
uhftx
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Alert: How old is your fire extinguisher?

This story has nothing to do with my montana. But was a eye opening because I never thought this could be an issue.

There are two stories here one involves a camper fire everyones worst nightmare. You don't have to read this graphic image from what I remember.
It was a few years ago and I never acted upon what I know and what I seen.
But it has become a revelation only due to it being personal this time. So If you have a somewhat queasy stomach don't descend your reading which I describe the Salisbury Beach State Park story.

I recently had to use one at the house. Nothing serious but still alarming.
I check the extinguishers often and read the gauge and give them a shake or two when I think of it. They were always in the green zone so I assumed all 'A OK' I guess that is pressure gauge and all seemed normal.

Well after a few seconds of discharge it went from full spray to nothing. I could still shake it and feel the chemical floating around so it wasn't due to settling. The gauges are crap and don't mean anything.

At work we have a company that comes in and inspects our CO2 FM200 and Haylon as well as inergen systems. Every 2 years they remove and replace all the 5, 10, and 15lb extinguishers.

The ones in our campers are only 3lbs. Tiny by any standards. Actually could not extinguish a camp fire and marginally useful for a Weber baby Q grill fire.

I have attended in the past, the incipient fire training through the state fire marshall's facility, Yes I did get a certificate for completion.
Everything from exercises in electrical, chemical and wood fires and the types of extinguishers.
That's how I knew to do a shake exercise before use and every so often to prevent settling of the powder inside.

But while I reflect upon what happened. I took inventory of the 6 extinguishers I own. Less the one I used. Low and behold they are all over 10 years old and I no longer have any faith in their performance.

So just a question to throw out there for for the rest of you. REPLACE your extinguisher and get at least 2 more for the camper.

If you act quickly enough they can be useful. Just don't expect one to be enough for safety sake. People are always talking about this and that, not being safe.
Here is one instance where you can never be too safe to save your own HIDE and protect Life, Liberty and Prosperity no matter what affiliation you maintain.


Years ago we were at Salisbury Beach State Park. We use to run into Frank and Sandy (FMsunoco) and Al and Nita (coachpotatoes). I honestly don't recall if they were they were there when this happened.
It isn't something we would talk about anyway.
Well one morning I awoke to a 5er can't remember the brand. But there was smoke showing. People were panicking and people said the people weren't home but there were cats inside.
Doors locked people frantic and worried. Maybe someone is still inside and husband went to work with the vehicle alone.

The Fire Dept arrived extremely quick.
First two out of the truck opened the storage areas and pulled the propane tanks and threw them out of the immediate area.
The other two jumped out and one got an axe the other started pulling hose. I thought they were a little too slow with the axe to brake open the door. But more hose and connections were made to the tanker. Seconds only went by but it was in somewhat slow motion to me at the time. Only because my mind was racing and I've had training but I know they are the professionals so who am I to question.

Hoses ready the door was opened with a continuous spray of water one towards the roof where there were now flames, the other at the firefighter making entry to the 5er. The door flung open and no flames come shooting out so it was not a oxygen deprived back draft situation (hose on FF making entry). That hose then made a concentrated spray towards the ceiling area inside the camper.
It looked like the origin of the area was the Refrigerator by looking at the after remains. I don't recall any animals being recovered or if they were with the parents at the time. Someone said they were nomads and had overstayed their time there 2wks max. But it was off season. Then some others said they thought it might be on purpose due to divorce.
I was only there for the weekend. It made the papers and the local news, beyond that I have no conclusions just a harrowing experience.

Please everyone be safe and protect yourselves.

Blessed and safe travels where ever the road may lead you.
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:33 PM   #2
mlh
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Thanks I needed that!
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:58 PM   #3
jcurtis934
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Yep, haven't looked at the stock montana mini or my two nornal ones. Guilty.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:05 PM   #4
uhftx
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IT is one of those things you take for granted.
And when the time comes when you need it.
It has to perform at it's best and do what it is designed to do.
But if neglected and you assume everything is fine. Well you end up on the receiving end of the big 'I should of" hindsight. Not pretty, nor nice, and it is too late to smack your self on the head and said "I should of had a V8"

I know I'm negligent on too many levels.
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Old 03-30-2017, 07:23 PM   #5
vipermanden
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Since I owned a manufacturing company, and they would come out and service all of our dozens of extinguishers yearly, they talked me into buying refillable extinguishers for my home and RV, so that you are forced to keep them up to date. Piece of mind.
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Old 04-01-2017, 01:12 PM   #6
kozzy
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I am a Career Firefighter in Upstate NY, ill share some insight. Portable extinguishers hold ratings, and those rating are on the label. Something most people do not know, is those ratings, which dictate how much fire they SHOULD put out, are based on professionals that are trained to use them, which, unless your a firefighter, you are not. so never take what the label says to the bank as far as how much they will do. That being said, the ones we get with our campers are way to small do really do anything. The are designed for like a trash can that might catch fire, or food in a pan. if the fire is extending to walls and cabinets, and not just in pan, that is more then those extinguishers will be able to handle. Min that should be carried in a camper is (2) 5lb ABC extinguishers. These need to be checked annually to make sure the needle is still in the green, if it is even close to being in the red zone, replace it. They should be replaced every 5 years, or when you see an issue with it during your inspection. UHFTX also pointed out they need to be shaken once in a while to make sure the powder has not settled. 100% correct. Every couple of months is a safe bet. As far as placement, these need to be in a location that makes sense, and that is not usually by the door. One should be placed in the cooking area, one in the sleeping area. The sleeping area simply for ease to grab, if its night, and everyone is asleep, you want to be able to grab it before u head to the place you might need it. the cooking area is obvious, and you don't want to have to move far to get it to put out a cooking fire. Seconds can count. Campers are made from very light weight materials, and are not designed to withstand any kind of fire damage to the structure. Any fire other than a small incipient fire contained to the container of origin will pretty much make that RV a total lose. manufactures know that. Not to mention all the materials, synthetics, plastics, etc, all burn fast. An RV will go from incipient to free burning in less than 10 minutes. if you are already out, stay out, save your efforts, you wont save the unit. if you are inside, get out safely. Sorry for the long post, just some safety tips that might help out...Units can be replaced, lives cant...One thing we always say at work starting our shift is "Everyone goes home" that's always the most important...
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:14 PM   #7
Razrbk
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Good post. -- Thx
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