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  • Fire extinguisher for the shop?

    It's about time I had some sensible ideas rather than the crazy plans that might work or might kill me
    I've been thinking for a while that I ought to have a fire extinguisher on hand in the shop. Not that I plan to set fire to anything...but I have just bought a stick welder!
    Dry powder type are cheap and suitable for more types of fire but if I ever have to use it, my lathe (or whatever else is involved) is going to be covered in schmoo. Not sure how much of an issue this really is, having never used one but I suspect the clean-up would be a pain. So I was thinking of a 2kg (1kg looks about the right size for a birthday cake!) CO2 as it should be non-destructive.

    My question is this: good plan or bad plan and is there anything I've not thought of?

  • #2
    I'd opt for 6kg / 6litre foam

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    • #3
      Why not both?

      What are your workshop fire risks? Electrical (burnt out motors etc.), flammable solids (timber, plastic, paper), liquids (oil, solvent), hot work (burning chips, welding slag, hot work and heat sources). What else?

      2kg CO2. Good for electrical and liquid fires. No point having a fire extinguisher if you're going to hesitate to use it for fear of ruining your stuff, so CO2 is a good go-to.

      Then, back that up with a foam extinguisher. I think foam is better than powder for a workshop environment. You can clean it up, it doesn't get anywhere you don't spray it, and it actually cools the heat source rather than just chemically inerting the reaction - Important I think for hot work.

      Back all that up with a fire blanket and I'd say you're pretty well covered.

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      • #4
        There a two good reasons for not going for both. One is cost - and I'll grant that's a poor reason, but it is a consideration - and the other is space. A 6kg bottle would present more of a hazard than the fire!
        Just found that powder shouldn't be used in a confined space if you like breathing...which also makes it unsuitable.
        Fire blanket is a great idea. Cheap and small.
        Do you think I'd be alright with CO2 and the fire blanket to cover the type A flammable solids?

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        • #5
          2kg co2 extinquisher is about same as you go and try to blow out the fire like the bad wolf.. at least go for the 5kg model.

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          • #6
            Check out some videos. A 2kg fire extinguisher will put out a pretty substantial fire.

            I know an NFPA certified fire protection specialist. He says that one issue is that the dry chem will make a hell of a mess to the contents, and second that the CO2 works great unless the fire is just big enough that the extinguisher runs empty before the fire is out. In that case the fire will come right back.

            So he tells all the plant managers to have both and use the CO2 first.

            If you have water piping available you could always add a faucet and connect a garden hose with nozzle and let it hang on the wall.

            Steve
            Last edited by SteveF; 05-03-2018, 08:26 AM.

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            • #7
              I buy the small 1kg ones when they are on sale and I have 1 in my shop(and several other places), a 2 kg outside of the shop and a 6kg in my bedroom(2 doors and less than 10 yards away from my shop), it's much more likely that any shop fire that happens will be a smallish one rather than one requiring using up a larger and more expensive extinguisher so having several small ones does make sense(I don't exactly live in the cheapest of Countries but even here a 1kg extinguisher can be found for under 10$ on sale).

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              • #8
                I have a propane leak on the forklift & started 1/2 the hanger on fire with 3' blue flame which started many more things on fire. I had 2 of the big A-B-C at hand & besides loosing the hare off my legs everything was fine but It got me thinking so I traded for a 250# dry extinguisher like this that I thout was very old but found it was very new & just been serviced, just like this but rubber covers on the steel wheels https://fireextinguisherdepot.com/fi...inguisher.html $0 seconds to empty 250#s. It just sits in the corner & now I have it I'll never need it & still keep 2 of the biggest carry A-B-C you can get. But I ended up wth about $250 in it & lost a remote cabin to a fire so it's worth it to me just for pc of mind. Go big or go home
                "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                country, in easy stages."
                ~ James Madison

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by flylo View Post
                  besides loosing the hare off my legs everything was fine but It got me thinking
                  What was a rabbit doing on your legs? Did he survive the fire?

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                  • #10
                    First hand experience of trying to breath through the process and post fire clean up of a motorcycle fire put out with powder. There was still etched staining on the block and head of the motor literally years later, and it wasn't a huge fire, just a backfire lit up the carb which caught then someone ran over with the powder extinguisher and let rip. I'd have been better off letting the tank and carb go up properly in a controlled way than deal with all that crud everywhere and that's why my shop has multiple of CO2 extinguishers and no water or powder based ones, because it might not be *me* panic'ing and picking the extinguisher up.. .

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for this thread. I just realized I don't even know where my small extinguishers are in the shop, or if they are even still good, or even what type they are. I should probably buy a few CO2 units and hang them in the shop soon before the evening summer festivities begin in there.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
                        Thanks for this thread. I just realized I don't even know where my small extinguishers are in the shop, or if they are even still good, or even what type they are. I should probably buy a few CO2 units and hang them in the shop soon before the evening summer festivities begin in there.
                        Maybe you shouldn't.
                        If, God forbid, your shop burns down you will stop making snarky comments about other members!
                        Bill
                        I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Seastar View Post
                          Maybe you shouldn't.
                          If, God forbid, your shop burns down you will stop making snarky comments about other members!
                          Bill
                          You're clearly very old and delusional.

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                          • #14
                            SteveF: No running water in the 'shop' as it's part of an outbuilding. If it had running water it'd be classed as a living space and they'd slap a higher tax rating on me. There is a hose in the garden within a couple of panicked strides though.

                            3 Phase: You're welcome. I really hope that nobody's shop - or any part of their house/workplace - burns down.

                            I'm fairly sure that if I have one, I'll never need it...but let's call it an investment rather than a waste of money, eh?

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                            • #15
                              Yep! Very, very old.
                              Delusional, maybe, but I don't constantly make nasty comments like you just did.
                              It gets tiresome!
                              OK that's enough of that for me.
                              Bill
                              I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

                              Comment

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