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Thread: shop question for the fire fighters!

  1. #1
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    shop question for the fire fighters!

    what is if any standards for the placement and quantity or size of fire extinguishers? we all know wood burns and motors to.. but i dont recall much said about the prevention of a castophy by having or using fire extinguishers at hand for those emergency times.. so if any of you folk have some firemen or firewoman expeiernce and could help the rest of us out thanks.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  2. #2
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    Fire Extinguishers

    Larry,

    I work as a Fire Marshal in the Nations Capitol so I guess I qualify to speak on this subject. The average hobby woodworker has about 400 to 600 sq.ft. of shop space, that being said with the most likely culprit to start a fire would be electrical in nature (woodworking machinery) or Class C (electrical fires) the most likely found fuel sources would be wood in different forms of mass i.e. dimesional, shavings and saw dust or Class A (wood,paper) and finally stains, paints and solvents or Class B (flammable liquids). So obviously the choice would be a Dry Chemical Extinguisher (ABC) type, this will extinguish all three classes of those fires mentioned and the size should at least be a 10 lbs ABC extinguisher this has the capability to extinguish a fire that is 100 sq.ft. in size (10 X 10). If you have a larger space you might add another or up size to a twenty pounder. Note: the little 2 to 5 pounders that you see in most kitchens are okay for small range top fires but I elieve you should have at least 1 10 lbs. ABC Dry Chem. Extinguisher in your shop and Remeber P.A.S.S. Pull Pin, Aim Nozzel at base of fire, Squeeze handle, Sweep back and forth at base of fire and always, I Repeat always even if you think the fire is out or not dial 911, you never know if the fire could grow larger or get behind a wall and not really be out. Also make sure you have them located where you can get at them, dont hide them behind yuor wood stash or some 500 lbs + wood working machine. Oh, by the way I know alot of people say cleanliness is a sign of a sick mind, but I would rather have a sick mind than be sick to my stomach after watching my favorite hobby and equipment or buisness burn to the ground (god forbid your shop is attached to your house) a little sweeping goes a long way.

    Hope that helps, and by the way I have 3 10lbs. in my shop. (of course I get mine for free).

    P.S. These things cost from 50.00 to 100.00 so shop around and make sure it is U/L Listed.


    Scott
    Last edited by Scott Custer; 12-26-2007 at 06:33 PM. Reason: added something
    Operation Urgent Fury 83'

  3. #3
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    thanks scott

    now for the next question?? if the shop is 32 x 36 how many would you suggest? i have 2 abc dry type now and they are UL listed
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
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  4. #4
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    I keep an 8lb ABC by each exit door. I figure this puts me near the door if I decide to 'flight' instead of 'fight' the fire. These sound a bit small according to Scott's post which I definitely take to heart. There is a small backup unit on the floor right below each 8 pounder.

    The top handle is about 2 feet off the floor. This is easily reachable from a standing or lying position. The phone is near the door to the outside, next to the extinguisher and is also located about 2 feet off the floor. The low height was recommended in case you have "fallen and can't get up" and need to call for help.

    Planning is important to everyone but, as I live and work alone, I take it very seriously. If I can't reach a phone, I can yell till I'm hoarse and it will do me no good. Please plan accordingly. A couple hundred bucks is nothing compared to not being prepared.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 12-26-2007 at 09:14 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Larry,

    That should be fine, the thing to remember is that fire extinguishers are known as first aid firefighting appliances, you will more than likely if ever only use one of the two, if the first one hasnt knocked down the fire then the fire has probably grown to level where the second one will not help or be able to be reached. these things are made to catch a fire in its incipient phase with an area not much larger than a good size trash can on fire. Thats why you should always call the fire department, sometimes I think that people get a false sense of security about having a couple of fire extingushers around. Remember even sprinklered buildings burn down.

    But to answer your question I think the two you have should be fine, prevention is the best thing..place flammables away from heat sources, keep all electrcal equipment and cords in good shape, maintain any heating appliances you may have and keep them at least 3 ft away from combustibles and once again sweeping and blowing the place out once in awhile to get accumulated dust out of the shop goes along way. The main rule in fire prevention is keep the fuel sources away from the ignition sources, do that and other than your shop being struck by lightning you should never have a fire.


    Scott
    Operation Urgent Fury 83'

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input! I read Larry's post and thought it was a great question. One I have meant to ask. I have a garden hose by the exit door of my shop. I know better than hit an electrical fire with it too.

    Thanks for the input. Will start shopping around.
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  7. #7
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    Another thing as recommended by my fire extinguisher supplier don't purchase a plastic valved fire extinguisher & expect it to work when you need it. Plastic has a way of deteriorating & when it does it shrinks & will let the pressure drop.
    Also if in your shop you can put the fire out with CO2 as a first line of defense do so but do have an ABC fire extinguisher on hand ready to use too. Reason an ABC extinguisher not only gets in to everything but is corrosive when it gets into your motors & tool mechanics.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
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  8. #8
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    Just to add to Scott C.'s info, Larry also asked about placement.

    For extinguishers under 40 lbs. they can be placed up to 60" off of the floor, measuring from the finished floor to the top of the extinguisher or cabinet. For extinguishers 40 lb. and over, the max height is 42". The minimum distance from the floor is 4" from the finished floor. This ensures that the extinguisher isn't just set on the floor.

    They also "shall be located along normal paths of travel, including exits from areas."

    Non-wheeled portable fire extinguishers "shall be installed using any of the following means:

    1) Securely on a hanger intended for the extinguisher
    2) In the bracket supplied by the extinguisher manufacturer
    3)In a listed bracket approved for such purpose
    4)In cabinets or wall recesses
    (end quote)

    Any extinguishers need to be adequately strapped and protected depending on the conditions of its location and in areas where it may be damaged or dislodged.


    This info is from the 2007 NFPA Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers and from my experience in the Fire Department and my fire officer training. Of course though, I defer any and all of this info to Fire Marshall Custer (since he would have outranked me. )
    Thanks, Mark.

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  9. #9
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    Thumbs up this is what i was after

    to get the family involved thanks scott for your input and the others too,, the two ihave are plastic valves bart so i quess i will be lookun to change them out at some point in time. but till then i quess plastic is better than nun. will co2 work on most everything?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
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    I bought some fire extinguishers at a yard sale from a church. To old for public building use. It was told to me by a fireman to turn them upside down from time to time and hit the bottom of the extinguisher with a rubber hammer. Keeps the powder from becoming a hard mass on the bottom.

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