About Fire Extinguishers
by Chuck (westyman71 at yahoo.com)
Not only am I a long-time VW owner (29 years), I
have been a career firefighter for the last 23 years. Here's some
information on these.
Most fire extinguishers out there are the "dry chemical" type. They
have a powder (usually monoammonium phosphate) that interferes with the
chemical chain reaction to put out the fire. All extinguishers are
rated by their ability to put out different types of fires.
The typical 10 pound dry chemical extinguisher out
there is rated 4A, 60B, C. This means that when used by Joe Citizen, it
will put out 4 square feet of ordinary combustibles, 60 square feet of
flammable liquids, and can be used on energized electrical equipment.
It also means that when tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL),
Factory Mutual (FM) or other testing organizations, the expert is able
to put out 4 times the coverage area it is rated for.
- "A" is ordinary combustibles (wood, paper)
- "B" is flammable liquids (gasoline)
- "C" is safe to use on energized electrical
- "D" is flammable metals (sodium, magnesium,
A couple of things: 1) Flowing, burning flammable liquids won't be put
out. So kill the fuel pump (ignition) so the fuel flow stops. It can
reflash without warning, so be alert. 2) The powder gets everywhere!!!
If the powder gets into sensitive electronic stuff (computers), it is
usually toast anyway.
Hope this helps,
- Buy a nice sized one with a metal body and head.
The previously described 10 pound model works pretty well.
- Firmly mount or secure the extinguisher, as these
things are not too cool if you have an accident -- they make nice
- They should be pressure tested every 6 years by a
- Every once in a while, take it and turn it upside
down to "unsettle" the powder.
- If the pressure has leaked off out of the green,
get it serviced. As long as it is still sealed and the pressure is up,
they stay good for a long, long time.
- If you use it, get it recharged.
- If getting a recharge, call around, as prices can
vary a lot. Sometimes it is just cheaper to buy a new one.
- Mount the extinguisher within reach if possible.
You don't want to be climbing around the back of a Bus, looking for an
extinguisher, when the Bus is on fire.