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Where's your fire extinguishers?


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I have one dry chemical on the wall beside the power hammer where it's a quick grab from the forge, and a CO2 that sits on the floor halfway to the door.  Then there's the old lime bucket left over from when I thought I was annealing stuff.  Just as good as sand for oil fires on the floor or any other "smother and cover" type of situation.  Lids on the quench tanks. A covered oil fire is no longer a fire after less than a second.  Then there's the hose on the back wall outside.  Not that a garden hose is ideal, but it can be deployed if needed.  

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Basically the fire extinguisher should be in the place of easiest access and left that way.  Meaning don't pile things in front of it on the floor, make it the easiest tool to get to. Make sure your extinguisher is appropriate for what every your working with. Typically you find 'C' and that covers a good bit of stuff for the average home and workshop.

 

#2 make sure of the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, when they expire, replace them, most have a life of about 2 years.  When you do need to replace an extinguisher, the old one should be expelled of its contents.  See what regulations your local authorities have on disposing of them.

 

Don't forget to have one not only in your shop but near the kitchen, and if you have a drier, in the laundry room. 

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In my finishing shop (which I regard as more likely to catch fire, grinding with dust extractors etc) I have a dry powder and CO2 outside the office, which is at the furthest end from the door, and another CO2 and Powder by the entrance / exit door to the yard.

 

My hot shop has a large CO2 and Dry powder in the forging area. 

 

I pay a company to advise what is needed, buy them from them, and pay them for an annual inspection & report they have been inspected. They also ensure the correct signage is by the extinguishers.

 

Using a pro company is not much more expensive than guessing what I need, and sourcing them myself. The annual check on them is not expensive, might be 10$ each.

 

Gives me piece of mind, and one less thing to worry about !

 

 

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Considering how many of us have our shops piled high with stuff, err... arranged, I think the old boat rule of always having your extinguisher between you and your best exit is a good rule. Most boats keep their extinguishers near the hatch you would naturally use to escape from that space. 

 

Fires can get surprising big surprising fast. You do not want the fire between you and an exit if things get a little too sporty.

Edited by Les Medley
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  • 1 month later...
On 3/31/2020 at 4:47 PM, Gerald Boggs said:

I think that's going to put you as the gold standard for fire safety :-)

 

lol, famous last words from me there. Had a total loss fire 5 weeks ago in the main workshop premises! 

 

 

 

 

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I have one at the door of the shop and one under the sink in the kitchen of the house. I need to get one that's good at putting out oil fires though. I havent had to deal with a major oil fire yet but maybe that's something I will order or look for in a store. The only ones I have are CO2 I belive? I need to get more to have strategically placed around the shop and house!!!

Edited by Jeremy Blohm
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1 hour ago, John N said:

 

lol, famous last words from me there. Had a total loss fire 5 weeks ago in the main workshop premises! 

 

 

 

 

But, it didn't start in your shop!  Good to see you back, John.  Hope things are looking a bit better!

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Thanks Guys ! 

 

Its still a complete fubar situation, but we are unpicking it a bit.

 

I have not been able to retrieve any of my 'industrial' work in progress, or 'mildly scorched' machines as the building is condemned, and the various insurance companies involved need to collectively agree to tear it down. Hopefully it can be 'made safe' enough for me to get out what I need, before it is fully flattened.

 

Its a bit surreal with the factory gone, covid lockdown etc. Like a big life 'pause' 

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Not to be a curmudgeon, but what if the fire happens where you're outside?. If a fire extinguisher isn't by the door, that means you have to enter the burning building to get to it. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/11/2020 at 6:13 PM, Gerald Boggs said:

Not to be a curmudgeon, but what if the fire happens where you're outside?. If a fire extinguisher isn't by the door, that means you have to enter the burning building to get to it. 

 

Extinguishers by the exit door are a good idea if your brave enough go in to investigate!

 

These are my personal top tips, as a new found expert in the matter :rolleyes: (not that any of it would have made any real difference in my shop fire, as there was a very large fire front by the time it hit my buildings)

 

1 - make sure your insurance coverage is adequate. 

 

2 - make sure your insurance coverage is adequate !!!

 

3 - Fire breaks. If your shop is separate to your house, don't park a vehicle, or pile a load of crap between them.

 

4 - Have a good honest look around your shop at all the piles of crap that are in there, that can burn. Stuff you don't really think would burn, burns really well once a fire gets going. Dont give it a chance to! Have a massive clear out, and enjoy the zen of a minimalist tidy workspace. (basically do a fire risk assessment!) 

 

5 - Document what you have done to minimise the fire risk in the shop. Imagine you are having to show it to someone, even if its 'just pretend' conversation. Are you happy? or do you have a cringe at what you meant to get around to doing, but did not have the time ! (I am happy I did what I could on the prevention side, if there was a fire under different circumstances)

 

 

Edited by John N
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For what it's worth, in re-roofing and expanding my little back yard shed from 8x12 to 12x12 feet, I found fire-rated particle board sheathing at a local surplus building materials place and was able to use that for the new wall parts and all of the new roof decking. It has a fiberglass (?) coating that is impregnated with some kind of fire-resistant white cement. It is nasty stuff to saw when installing because of the fiberglass, and only a supplement not a replacement for a fire extinguisher, but it will be a nice extra bit of peace of mind for when I get my grinder etc. set up in there.

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