Author Topic: Pull In Case Of Fire!  (Read 7963 times)

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Offline calexanian

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Pull In Case Of Fire!
« on: July 09, 2015, 04:49:07 am »
Random thought. What, if any sort of defense do you have in your personal lab against fire?

In my garage shop with welding and torches and what have you I keep a standard fire extinguisher, and at my electronics bench in my spare bedroom i keep a small aresol can style fire extinguisher called KO FIRE. I bought some cans of it at a swap meet from a vendor next to me and of course i had to try one. It worked well enough. I think its just slightly gelatinous water that squirts out but it put a small fire I made in a metal basket out.

Anybody have anything more fun?
Charles Alexanian
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Offline BennVenn

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2015, 05:54:58 am »
Large CO2 extinguisher, Argon welding gas, lots of casting sand...

Fire supression at work is far more interesting!
 

Offline helius

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 06:05:41 am »
I have a 3 lb. halon sprayer from when they were still being sold. You should not use "dry chemical" type extinguishers on valuable electronics, they are corrosive and very difficult to clean off completely. The preferred types are the so-called "clean agents", like CO2, halon, and novec.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 06:08:53 am by helius »
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 06:59:45 am »
None. My mother said she will get a sand bucket ^-^ 
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Online German_EE

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 09:12:12 am »
A CO2 extinguisher by the workshop door next to the emergency cutout. We have smoke detectors throughout our building but no fire extinguishers, I checked with the local fire service and they said that this is perfectly OK. In the event of a fire we are supposed to call out the fire service then leave the building.
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Offline bookaboo

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 10:08:15 am »
I was amazed to hear Dave say that if their fire office fire alarm goes off the fire brigade are automatically called out and there's a fee of $2000.00. Is that the case the world over?
Thinking about it, it does kind of make sense to have it this way as somebody has to pay so might as well have the onus on people to be extremely careful.
 

Offline BradC

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 10:53:23 am »
I was amazed to hear Dave say that if their fire office fire alarm goes off the fire brigade are automatically called out and there's a fee of $2000.00. Is that the case the world over?
Thinking about it, it does kind of make sense to have it this way as somebody has to pay so might as well have the onus on people to be extremely careful.

Prior to this there was absolutely zero incentive for cheap arse building managers to have fire alarm systems properly maintained and no incentive for cheap arse contractors to actually do a decent job. There have been a few fires over the years that were poorly attended because the service was already en-route to yet another false alarm. Funny, the rate of false alarms has dropped measurably. To be honest, 2 grand is much cheaper than it should be.
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 11:13:36 am »
5kg CO2 but also a chemical in case it gets really nasty with the solvents IPA, etc.
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Offline steve30

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 02:00:25 pm »
Don't have anything unfortunately. When we moved in to this house I hoped we'd get a fire extinguisher, but we never did.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 02:07:28 pm »
My first job out of college was radar work for Northrop. We had huge racks full of very expensive, and practically irreplaceable, equipment, because this was all still in the prototype/development phase.  We still even had hand made wire wrapped boards.  One day, one of the engineers plugged an emulator in 90 degrees out of phase, and that shorted power to ground.  Before all the various fuses and things started blowing, it heated up enough to smoke the socket, and that set off the fire alarm.

It was a good chuckle for a couple of minutes, phone calls to get the alarms turned off, etc.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a security guard running down the hall, and into the lab, with a bucket....yes, a red bucket...full of water.  It was all I could do to get in front of him and scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  It was like a scene out of the Three Stooges.  Where the hell did he even get the red fire bucket?  Who does stuff like that anymore?  He would have dowsed the entire powered rack with his bucket of water.
 

Offline calexanian

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2015, 02:36:05 am »
We have a system at work that if the fire alarm goes off during business hours they call to see if it was a false alarm before calling the fire department. If it is after hours or when the burglar alarm is set it calls the fire department first, then our cell phones to let us know.
Charles Alexanian
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2015, 02:42:49 am »
I was amazed to hear Dave say that if their fire office fire alarm goes off the fire brigade are automatically called out and there's a fee of $2000.00. Is that the case the world over?
Thinking about it, it does kind of make sense to have it this way as somebody has to pay so might as well have the onus on people to be extremely careful.

Yep. This applies to all back to base AFA installations in the state of New South Wales. The current false alarm charge is $1250. Here is an excerpt from the NSW Fire and Rescue website:

The NSW Fire Brigades ACT 1989, Sect 42 allows FRNSW to charge for attending false alarm call-outs to monitored AFA systems. This charge is intended to motivate building owners and managers to be continually pro-active in managing their AFA systems and to ensure that they are properly maintained. It has been demonstrated that properly maintained systems assist in reducing the number of false alarms attended by FRNSW allowing them to respond more readily to genuine emergencies.

From 1 July 2013 the false alarm charge increased to $1250.

In certain circumstances, such as for storms and other natural disasters, false alarms will not be charged if the alarm was beyond the control of the owner.
There are additional circumstances (leniencies) resulting in no charge, including:

One false alarm within a 60 day period will not be charged. Subsequent false alarms which occur within 60 days of the first alarm will be charged.
A 24 hour leniency period applies in which repeat false alarms will not be charged. Only the first alarm will be charged within the 24 hours. Multiple false alarms within a 24 hour period are considered a one off event giving the business owner or manager time to rectify their alarm system.


Source: http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=77
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 02:45:10 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline calexanian

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 03:19:18 am »
We have a similar thing, but for calling the police when the alarm rings. The fee is not that high though. Something like $300 for a repeat event. The first one in some length of time is not charged. Our service will try ringing our cell phones first before calling the police to see if its a false alarm. If it is at night we tell them to call the police directly. Otherwise we go investigate ourselves because by the time the police arrive they will have been long gone anyways. Our last break in had them in and out in under 5 minutes. The police take about 30 minutes to wander by, and it is typically not even a patrol car. Its the burglary truck that typically contains the most out of shape, closest to retirement officer they had at the moment and they do not even file a report. They just tell you to do it on the internet!
Charles Alexanian
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Offline Mr.B

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2015, 03:32:41 am »
5kg CO2
5kg Dry Powder - which I wouldn't use unless absolutely necessary
Dirty big main isolator to the whole workshop
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2015, 04:35:04 am »
I have a fire extinguisher and that's basically it.
Labs at work used to have buckets of sand you could either toss stuff in, or toss the sand onto.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2015, 04:37:39 am »
Yep. This applies to all back to base AFA installations in the state of New South Wales. The current false alarm charge is $1250.

And you can't call them off either, they must attend if the alarm goes off, even if the owner or building manager says it's a false alarm.
I think it's a reasonable charge. If our building goes off then 2 or 3 trucks turn up (assuming worst case?) and sometimes takes a 30 minutes to give the all-clear.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2015, 11:40:00 am »
I have a fire extinguisher and that's basically it.
Labs at work used to have buckets of sand you could either toss stuff in, or toss the sand onto.

Hmmm...maybe my guy found some leftover, empty sand bucket from before we had proper extinguishers, and decided the right thing to do was fill it with water.  At least that would make a little more sense.
 

Offline Stray Electron

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2015, 11:41:20 am »


Anybody have anything more fun?


  More fun?  A friend of mine gave me a full case of those old glass "fire grenades" that are filled with Carbon TetraChloride.  Thinking about how much contamination that that stuff can cause in ground water and the toxic fumes that they can create in a fire, I don't think I'd use them even if my shop were on fire!

   For now I'm using a bunch of the old big heavy CO2 fire extinguishers that were formerly used on military flight lines for standby when aircraft started their engines.  Most of these have been in the family since the late 40s or early 50s and they all still have pressurization. I did use one on a kitchen fire years ago and it was very effective. I have at least six spread around the house, several in the garage and 4 or 5 in the shop. I still buy them when I find the GOOD ones and keep adding more to my stock. You can never have to many fire extinguishers IMO! REAL fire extinguishers, not the little toys ones from Walmart or Princess Auto!   I also have several canisters of Halon with mechanically operated heat sensitive valves. These came out of commercial boats when they used to be required to have this sort of automatic  fire extinguisher in the engine compartments. They had to replace them every so many years so I bought several of them after they were removed from service. I mount them above my largest equipment racks just in case anything catastrophic happens when I'm not around.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2015, 01:10:40 pm »
Anybody have anything more fun?

Literally, yes. The commercial sized pressurized water fire extinguishers. Which are really just giant super-soaker water pistols. I have several of those, and while the kids were still of water-fight age, in summer time we had some great battles.
Best part being that with an air compressor you can recharge them yourself as many times as you like.

Though I have to admit, CO2 extinguisher battles with mates in abandoned buildings are fun too. Or just creeping up behind someone and letting them have it at short range with no warning. (If on bare skin, no more than a brief blast!)

For actual fire extinguishing, I figure that since the power distribution boards for each building are easily accessible, I'd just kill the power first, then use the water extinguishers. But I do have one CO2 extinguisher just in case.

Also, I made sure all the garbage bins in my workshop are the solid metal variety. So small things on fire can be dumped into them. I've had this happen once, long ago. Still have that blackened bin.

A few days ago I got a nasty surprise. Was using a propane-oxy jewelers torch for some fine brazing. With the torch running for a few minutes, I thought I smelt propane. Assuming it might be a small leak around the tank valve, I flicked a lighter there to see if there would be a small flame around the valve seal. Sometimes the valve stem O-rings don't seal properly.

Woompf! There'd been a BIG leak there. Several cubic feet of flame around the tank, and a lot shorter hairs on my hand holding the lighter. Propane is heavier than air, so it flows down to the floor unless mixed up by drafts. Hence 'pool of fire on floor around tank' effect. Most flame gone in a second, leaving just a nastily large jet from the valve, but OK to turn it off by hand quickly. Fortunately there wasn't anything flammable lying around, or it could have got a bit more interesting.

Btw the door to outside was open a few feet away, so I wasn't worried about the whole room being flammable. Or I'd have shut down then tried the leak test outside.
It was a once-off; in later uses the valve doesn't leak at all. But anyway that tank gets a new O-ring next time it's empty.
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2015, 07:10:42 pm »
Yes, the dry chemical extinguishers are hard on electronics and tough to clean up.  But if the fire is serious enough to pop a fire extinguisher the loss of some electronics is the least of my worries.

My experience is that fires in electronic equipment usually die quickly when power is removed.  A fire blanket to stop air flow sometimes is needed.  The funniest example I have is a service call that I got saying some experimental equipment was behaving oddly.  When I arrived, the problem was easy to find.  Flames were visible out of the top of the rack behind the operator who reported the problems.  After killing power the flames went away quickly, and the equipment actually was returned to service after a minor repair.
 

Online SeanB

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2015, 08:27:30 pm »
CO2 is great for car fires, especially if you have to open a window to get access ( owner thanked me for breaking his window as well, seeing as I saved his uninsured vehicle) and handles small fires well. Dry powder works as well, but is a lot messier. At work I have almost all dry powder, because of the versatlity. At home I also have dry powder both in the outside units and as my own. Must bring home the old halon units, they might be a decade past pressure test date, but they corrode from the outside in, not like dry powder which goes the other way.

I did use a stored pressure dry powder unit ( only one we had, and I had replaced it with new, but kept the old one for test) to damp down dust in a duct when I needed to cut into it, was worried about the dust inside burning. Aim into hol and pop the CO2 bottle, and hope it does not explode like they were prone to. Then scrapped it after cutting a hole in it.
 

Offline MiataMuc

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2015, 10:05:56 pm »
A CO2 extinguisher by the workshop door next to the emergency cutout. We have smoke detectors throughout our building but no fire extinguishers, I checked with the local fire service and they said that this is perfectly OK. In the event of a fire we are supposed to call out the fire service then leave the building.

where in Germany do you live? I've never worked without having an fire extinguisher more than 15 meters away.. and I've mostly worked in office buildings without any special risk. Even the two apartment buildings I've lived in have fire extinguishers on every floor.. and belive me, these are not there because we felt like putting them there. Munichs fire department is quite strict (not related to this topic, but this will cost me dear, because someone didn't build up to the code in 1971 - and they found out last year..)
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2015, 10:57:57 pm »
Have not had the need to use it but I have this:

http://www.firstalert.com/battery/86-commercial/947-3-a-40-b-c-heavy-duty-rechargeable-fire-extinguisher

Downside (for what I hear) is that even if they are rechargeable companies don't have the parts needed to recharge these first alert extinguishers, meaning that if you ever need to recharge it, you'll end-up paying more because you have to get the whole valve assembly.

But if I need to use it, I don't think I'll be too worry on how much is going to cost me to recharge it.
 

Offline briselec

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2015, 08:52:31 pm »
Fire extinguishers and fire blankets. My partner managed to start a fire in the kitchen in our previous home and went in to a panic. My daughter walked in to the kitchen, cool as a cucumber, pulled the fire blanket from it's holder and put the fire out.
 

Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Pull In Case Of Fire!
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2015, 09:27:33 pm »
I still have some halon extinguishers in the lab, just in case and some modern CO2 extinguishers as well. Never had to use them in the last 20 years or so. My lab is completely tuned off during the night, to prevent (hopefully) anything unexpected.
 
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