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Old 19-11-2006, 06:45   #16
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Thanks Gord.

Two products that look promising are "Cold Fire" http://www.firefreeze.com/site/page2.cfm , which sounds a lot like the foam I talked about earlier, and "Envirogel" http://www.powsus.com/enviro.htm

This topic has been very useful, as I don't think a lot of us have given fire the consideration due. I wonder what the stats are for boats burning?

Kevin
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Old 19-11-2006, 06:53   #17
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Kevin:
PHIL+MARYANNE opened the thread /w BoatUS stat's. Goto the first post.
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Old 19-11-2006, 09:26   #18
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Gord,

I was thinking more of percentage of all boats lost, which can be attributed to fire.

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Old 19-11-2006, 11:29   #19
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Why Boats Sink
http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/sinking/default.asp
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Old 19-11-2006, 11:47   #20
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If you look at the stats at the beginning of the thread it's electrical AC/DC problems that are more than half of fires. With a large proportion of those from cold weather off season sailors using residential heaters instead of proper winterization. It's not how hot they get but how bad the wiring in them is. After a long winter spring time fires from poorly wired appliances is pretty easy. Leaving any home appliance in operation and left unattended for a period of time is asking for trouble. The number one offender (from the boat US survey) are those little heaters that are filled with oil and look like an old fashion radiator. They don't get very hot but the wiring in them is really poor.

One of the problems you face in a marina is should your boat catch fire is the first thing that happens is they cut your lines and push you off so the rest of the marina is not at risk. At that point they call the fire department. Across from me the marina had two different fires last winter and both ended up adrift and burned for hours before they could be extinguished. Both 100% loss and the owners had to pay to remove the leftover chared remains.
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Old 20-11-2006, 11:42   #21
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Just wanted to thank everyone who's contributed to this thread. We're still a little bit confused as to the ideal 'system', but like all things 'boat', seems to require a combination of items to cover different situations. (Kinda like anchors ) We're leaning toward 1 5lb Halon for 'first line' against electrical fire, with a 5lb Dry-Chem as back and two 2.5lb dry chems. (Hey, we have a cat with lots of space and mech spaces!)

I looked up the website on the Gel's, but the websites are not very professional, and did not see much 'certification' info. Did not even see 'ingredients'?! Seems like if someone could make a non-corrosive, easy-to-clean foam that handles A,B and C - they'd make a fortune! and save some lives and a LOT of property!

Meantime, one of our concerns can perhaps be solved in a very old fashioned way - though I'd like to hear any comments, especially by anyone with experience - can we simply throw FRESH water on barbeque and stove fires? Certainly we keep a spray bottle to cool things down.

And does anyone have any experience with using a 'fire blanket' to help put out fires?

One last one - a bit tech: The halon-replacement systems offered by Fireboy, etc. seem to indicate that an engine shut-down system IS REQUIRED. How often does putting the fireout NOT do the job due to lack of said 'engine shut-down'?

Cheers!
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Old 20-11-2006, 14:00   #22
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We've done away with all our "dry chem" extinguishers and have replaced them with three "HALOTRON" extinguishers manufactured by Amerex Corp. Have a look at www.amerex-fire.com for more info.

I also purchased a "Fire Blanket" for our galley stove.

Plus - I cut a hole a little larger than the fire extinguisher's nozzle and installed a clear lexan cover plate on the engine room hatch which enables me to see if there's a fire within. The cover is simply mounted with one screw and the total cost was next to nothing.

And - I went to fire fighting school in the Navy and more recently at Houston Marine in New Orleans. I gained a huge degree of respect & understanding of fires at sea... and am no longer "afraid".

Evacuate - Isolate - Fight the Fire.

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Old 20-11-2006, 19:29   #23
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Phil and Maryanne - the problem with using water on a stove fire isn't the stove, it's what's on the stove, which is usually grease that catches on fire; water and burning oil is a definite no-no. A box of baking soda will work well, or a dry-chem extinguisher.

Kirk - thanks for the Halotron link.


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Old 20-11-2006, 19:55   #24
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Phil-
Halon is damned expensive due to misplaced "environmentalists". The big magic to halon is that you can use it in a confined space and BREATH IT without being suffocated. Good for vault rooms, etc. (Destroys the ozone? Maybe, but when you're saving lives, compromises are in order.)
To just use it for an engine fire would be a waste, a plain CO2 bottle would be way cheaper and just as effective. With any engine fire, if you don't stop the engine, the extinguisher gas may be sucked right out--unless you can stall the engine with it. Leaving you with an empty fire bottle and an engine still on fire, not a good thing.

The dry chemical extinguishers are VERY effective but the fine yellow powder leaves a BF mess all over the place for days. It is incredibly difficult to clean up and I don't think I'd like to inhale it.

Fire blankets work, the trick is, you've got to get in close and then get them to settle down and conform over the burning stuff. Salt--plain kitchen salt--is also very effective, as used for kitchen fires.

Foam might be easy to make, but if you look for the foam extinguishers in a hardware store, they're dirt cheap these days. Often cheaper to buy than to refill anything else.

Having had a few, ah, inconveniences with combustion, I've come to place more and more value on fire prevention up front. Including plenty of extinguishers on hand. If you've never used one, ask your local FD or USCG if they have any practice events, some do. Or, a local extinguisher refill company may be willing to demonstrate some extinguishers that they are about to discharge and refill. Every type is different--and doesn't work quite as you'd expect. CO2 bottles are LOUD. Dry chemical blows yellow dust all over the damned place. They're all quite distracting the first time, all worth a practice session even if that means "wasting" an extinguisher.
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Old 20-11-2006, 21:40   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais
One of the problems you face in a marina is should your boat catch fire is the first thing that happens is they cut your lines and push you off so the rest of the marina is not at risk. At that point they call the fire department. Across from me the marina had two different fires last winter and both ended up adrift and burned for hours before they could be extinguished. Both 100% loss and the owners had to pay to remove the leftover chared remains.
If you cut loose a burning boat, doesn't that create a greater risk? I've read several sources that say it is better to move the adjacent boats away from the fire; you may lose control of one but at least it won't be bouncing around the marina setting fire to everything it comes in contact with.

Of course, I can't argue with your observation that it might happen anyway!

We had a boat fire in this marina recently. I wasn't here to see it, but the boat was effectively destroyed by the time the fire got put out. The remains of the hull sat in the yard for a few weeks, then they used chain saws to cut it into pieces that would fit into a trash container. Just the smell of the charred fiberglass was awesomely powerful -- I would hate to be downwind of it while it's burning.
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Old 20-11-2006, 21:41   #26
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always have an extinguisher preferably near the probable sources of fire and also far away from them too. What happens if something catches on fire, and you can't get to the extinguisher because the fire is blocking your path?
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Old 20-11-2006, 22:52   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Phil-
Halon is damned expensive due to misplaced "environmentalists". The big magic to halon is that you can use it in a confined space and BREATH IT without being suffocated. Good for vault rooms, etc. (Destroys the ozone?
NOT!!!!!!!!!!


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halon_1211

Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
This is a volatile extinguishant that should be used only with a breathing apparatus (when volume exceeds 5%).
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Old 21-11-2006, 08:27   #28
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There are other "fire" elements to deal with that require different means of fighting them from extinguishers. Many yrs back I was on a large tri cabin motorcruiser that had just been in the yard for motors and generator rebuilds. The boat was all electric with auto demand generator turn on when an appliance was turned on. The owner turned on the elec stove and nothing happened immediately. I lifted a hatch to look at the gen and the entire walk in engine room (w/6-71s) was full of smoke. To make a long story short the boat had a 32V system and the yard had wired the auto start incorrectly. It shorted the huge banks of batts and started melting the port main harness. The harness bundle was approx 2" in diameter and glowed red hot like a stove burner. Shutting the pwr down though switches didn't work because the melted insulation bi-passed them. The boat was equipped with a built in fire supression system but it didn't stop the electrical juice from continuing to cook. I also evacuated several large portable extinguishers without success. The only way to stop the burn was to chop the wires at the batts...but we didn't have anything aboard to chop with and neither did the marina. It didn't catch the boat on fire but the entire port harness burned from the batt and up to the instrument panel on bridge. The boat also had an instrument panel in the salon which burned.

If all your wiring is shielded the problem is mostly covered but that isn't reality...Otherwise, IF you have a fire aboard wire insulation can melt, main switches may not work and there is another element to deal with that extinguishers won't work on. Lesson learned for me was always carry a hatchet and mask.

B.
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Old 21-11-2006, 10:25   #29
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The word Halon is short for "halogenated hydrocarbons", in other words,
hydrocarbons containing one or more of the halogens (fluorine, chlorine, or
bromine).
Halons have certain advantages over carbon oxide. Less Halon than carbon
dioxide, for example, would be needed to extinguish a fire of the same size. This is an important consideration on boats with their weight and space limitations. In addition, there is some evidence that Halons can extinguish engine room fires more quickly than carbon dioxide can. The Halons used in firefighting systems are thought to be effective in breaking the chain reaction which is the mechanism that keeps fires going. Since the Halon extinguishes the fire by putting an end to this
reaction rather than by filling the room and displacing the oxygen, as carbon dioxide does, lower concentrations can be used. Whereas carbon dioxide would require a concentration of 28.5% to be effective, Halon 1301, which is typically used onboard ships/boats, will extinguish a fire at a concentration level of 6%.

Halon is a toxic vapour, with a narcotic action in concentration above 4% by volume.
Inhalation exposure to concentrations of Halon (above 4%), for longer than one minute, can cause toxic side effects.
These can include dizziness, impaired coordination, reduced mental acuity and cardiac effects.
Higher concentrations with longer exposures (5% for >1 minute) can cause unconsciousness or death.
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Old 21-11-2006, 17:25   #30
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Kirks message was very good for practical solutions, I'm going to follow them. BTW, typically mattresses are very, very flammable, I believe they have to withstand a smoldering cigerette but fire fighters called them solid gas. Any tips for those with mattresses immediately above their engines which types of foam are more fire retardant?
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