Luv2RV said:What does an new RVer have to know about getting the right kind of fire extinguisher? Is the one included by the factory sufficient? What kinds of fires are most likely to occur in an RV?
kkolbus said:Working as part of the safety team at Road America, we attend fire schools from time to time, and practice putting out fires in cars. This includes gasoline, lubricants, fabric and electrical. By far, foam is the best all-around agent as it lowers the temperature below the combustion point quickly and at the same time eliminates the oxygen needed for combustion. We now use an additive to plain old water that makes it highly useful on gasoline too, and can be used in 3-5 gallon stream extinguishers like we used to see in school when we were kids, only now they are stainless steel. You can refill them yourself and pressurize them with a tire chuck. Of course we still have huge CO2 bottles mounted on the trucks. In the Air Force, we used an agent called CBM; chlorobromomethane, that would put out a raging jet fuel fire in the blink of an eye, but it was for open spaces only as the gas evolved was highly toxic. I'll be at the track today and get specifics on that additive for water. One exception is a magnesium fire, which requires a special powder to smother the burning metal. If you spray a magnesium fire with water, it literally explodes! - not good.
Jim Dick said:John,
I don't know what purple K is but I did witness the demo by Mac on a gas/diesel fuel fire that was put out within about 15 seconds. Now this fire had been going for several minutes and the plywood backdrop was completely ablaze. After he put out the fire he tried to reignite the remaining mixture with a blow torch. It would not ignite!!! It seems the foam causes a chemical reaction with the fuel and virtually turns it into water!
He also had a flare ignited and put it out with the foam. He could immediately grab the end of the flare and it was cool to the touch. I do not pretend to understand the chemistry involved but I do know the foam is unbelievable. It really does eliminate the need for more than one type of extinquisher.
Pruple K is dry chemical but is better suited to higher hazard combustible fuels and live electrical equipment. Metal X is also a dry chemical but is specifically for burning metals like magnesium. It differs from other dry chem. extinguishers in that it doesn't spray out of the hose end, but dribbles out in a stream. You start at the edge of the fire and pile the stuff on, working your way to the center, to smother the fire by removing the oxidizer (air). Once completely covered, you leave it alone for as long as possible to cool down or it could re-ignite.I don't know what purple K is