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Old 06-27-2011, 08:58 AM   #11
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Also being a firefighter, the other main issue is not that the included extinguisher is useless, as it is. However, if you have been a FF for very long, you know that once one of these rigs gets going, it doesn't take very long for it to burn itslef out since they burn extremely fast. Your best bet is to not even try to fight it, but get the heck out! Especially with no gear, no water supply, and no bottled air!
Great idea of changing out the extinguisher though. The 2.5 lb ers that are provided will not do much good for anything really.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:00 AM   #12
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Oh yeah- remember that extinguishers do expire! Most of them are supposed to be checked by a professional once a year, with the lifespan being something like 3-5 years. Read your owner's manual!!!
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:10 AM   #13
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The idea is to be able to fight your way to the door.

There is so much toxic gas once a fire starts staying low and getting to the door should be your only fire plan.

You can be completely overcome with one good breath of smoke or fumes.

Once outside, call 911, turn off and remove the gas bottles if you can do so without getting burned and turn off the breakers on the pedestal.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:26 AM   #14
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u need to know how to use the extinguisher as well. aim at the base of the flame. those hand held extinguishers don't last very long.
check the pressure on the extinguisher and make sure it still has pressure. every so often, (on the dry chemical ones) turn them upside down and shake the powder to keep it fluffed (abt every month or so...not while in use).
even the larger hand held extinguishers are good for a very short time. it's better to have than to have not but keep that in mind.
flashlight, i have those that plug in that provide a night light and will come on when removed.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
The idea is to be able to fight your way to the door.

There is so much toxic gas once a fire starts staying low and getting to the door should be your only fire plan.

You can be completely overcome with one good breath of smoke or fumes.

Once outside, call 911, turn off and remove the gas bottles if you can do so without getting burned and turn off the breakers on the pedestal.
great advice
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:19 PM   #16
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Ditto on the great post, ResQ. I'll be making some upgrades! Also--thanks for the lesson on how to properly use the extinguisher. I imagine in the heat of the moment, process & preparedness are critical.
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:29 PM   #17
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New Fire Extinguisher

Well Res - Q, as a result of your post I stopped at Home Depot and picked up a larger ABC extinguisher and it went along on our trip a couple of weeks ago. So chalk one up for positive impact, increased awareness, good reminders etc!
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:22 PM   #18
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I have to add one more thing.

If you are woken by the smoke detector screaming; ROLL out of bed. Especially in a 5th wheel you are VERY close to the ceiling where that poison is concentrated. Just sitting up quickly and breathing in a lungful of fumes can knock you out of the action and you will be of no help to yourself or your family.

ROLL out of bed; Yell to your family to ROLL OUT OF BED; gather your cell phone (from by the bed) and crawl to the door.

REACH UP; do not stand up; and open the door.

This "should" vent the fumes below the door opening. It will also accelerate the fire so get your butt outside; count heads and make that 911 call.

Most likely there will not be a "flashover" because if there was a hot enough fire to have burned up the available oxygen you will be in no condition to get the door open. (A flashover is when NEW oxygen is added to a starved fire that causes an explosion of heat and flame.) This is a big concern to fire fighters because they are GOING INTO the fire. You are trying to get OUT.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:31 PM   #19
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Aahh… finally an area where I’m a subject matter expert…….

Fire extinguishers are designed for fighting incipient, or initial growth stage fires, before the fire gets developed. As the fire develops, the effects of pyrolosis - the off-gassing of flammable (and toxic) byproducts from solid fuels is magnified. Flashover, mentioned in a previous post, is the right combination of fire gasses, oxygen, and a heat source. Since the ABC fire extinguisher does very little to cool the fire, and stop the pyrolosis, they should not be used on deep-seated, well developed fires.

In modern days, this has been exacerbated by the make-up of today's fuels. In "older" days, when only standard wood, paper, cloth and other Class A combustibles were burning, these fuels were capable of producing or releasing 7000 BTU / Lb. Today’s synthetics typically produce, BTU’s in the 15,000 to 20,000 BTU’s/Lb. range. Keep in mind that gasoline produces 21,000+/- BTU’s / Lb. (130,000+/- BTU/gallon). I remind students all the time that we are now fighting fire with fuels that are, essentially, solidified gasoline! Given the synthetic make-up of today’s modern light-weight RV or TT, this is even more true!

So what does all this mean? Use the fire extinguisher to fight a small, incipient stage fire. Use it to make an escape, if needed. Do NOT use it to fight your way INTO a burning trailer unless it’s to save a savable life.

BTW – In preparation for my MD trip this week, I picked-up a 5lb. 3A, 40BC extinguisher for the TT earlier today. Home Depot had a metal head Kidde for $49.95, so I figured it to be good insurance. While many extinguishers are advertised as “refillable”, plastic valved extinguishers quickly get grooves worn into the valve seat from the discharge of high-pressure powder, and won’t hold pressure for long after refilling. Metal valve units don’t wear-out as quickly, and are a much better value.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:27 PM   #20
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Removed the tiny "factory" unit and replaced it with a 7 lb'er and Mag-Lite holder by the main door and added a 5-er by the bedroom door.

Like Herk, I always carry a 10lb unit in the truck. Have helped on a couple vehicle fires, and anything smaller is pretty much worthless and gone in seconds. Most vehicle engine fires have too much heat built up, and auto re-ignition keeps occuring once the extinguisher has been exhausted.

Southern Utah, NV, AZ and CA desert highways all have those big black rings on the shoulder every mile of so from all those complete vehicle fires...
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