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Old 08-01-2020, 09:13   #1
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Fire Suppression Systems

Hello ALL, I almost lost my Catamaran to a Water Heater Short . I was thinking of installing a fire suppression system to cover the engine rooms , generator room and water heater room as well as something above the stove .Does anyone have any advice , recommendations etc.

THank you for any help

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Old 08-01-2020, 09:49   #2
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

I have been intrigued by, but have not used, tested, installed or otherwise interacted with the dry powder ball extinguishers. The first, I believe, was Fireball, but now there are many. Mount one in the engine room, it "explodes" and casts dry powder agent throughout the room in the event of a fire.

ElideFire

Would be interested to hear about anyone's experience as the installation and convenience seem compelling if they actually work.

Probably not suitable for the galley, but there we have a fire blanket and a couple of handheld extinguishers within easy reach.
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Old 08-01-2020, 15:23   #3
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

Research thoroughly. Some systems will kill you while they extinguish the fire. Others can be a major clean-up hassle, even though they stop the fire from damaging much.
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Old 08-01-2020, 16:26   #4
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

Some work by eliminating oxygen. On engine rooms in big cruise ships you have about 45 seconds to move to another room before the lack of oxygen will kill you. Used to sell fire suppression systems for the mining industry, there is some wicket stuff but it cost too much to be commercially feasible for the pleasure maritime market.
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Old 08-01-2020, 16:31   #5
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

Try fireboy, looks easy to install

https://www.fireboy-xintex.com/porta...extinguishers/
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Old 08-01-2020, 16:39   #6
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

Automatic engine room fire systems are not at all exotic, and are common as dirt on well maintained yachts.

Many insurance companies actually require them. Being someone who is frequently far offshore, fire onboard is the single biggest fear I have. I have seen four boat fires, and put out two of them (all on other people's boats). I NEVER want to see one when I can't see the horizon.

Fireboy-Xintex is the industry leader.

You would have found them with a simple google search for "automatic engine room fire extinguishers"
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Old 08-01-2020, 16:41   #7
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
I have been intrigued by, but have not used, tested, installed or otherwise interacted with the dry powder ball extinguishers. The first, I believe, was Fireball, but now there are many. Mount one in the engine room, it "explodes" and casts dry powder agent throughout the room in the event of a fire.

ElideFire

Would be interested to hear about anyone's experience as the installation and convenience seem compelling if they actually work.

Probably not suitable for the galley, but there we have a fire blanket and a couple of handheld extinguishers within easy reach.
If you ever had to clean up after a dry chemical extinguisher, you would avoid it like the plague. There are other good alternatives for fixed mount engine room fire suppression.
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Old 08-01-2020, 17:01   #8
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Research thoroughly. Some systems will kill you while they extinguish the fire. Others can be a major clean-up hassle, even though they stop the fire from damaging much.
I was driving a mine truck once when the automatic DCP system misfired in side the cab. It filed the entire cab, engine bay etc with DCP but I had time to safely pull the vehicle to a stop and exit coughing and spluttering but alive. It made a hell of a mess but it was able to be cleaned up and everything was fairly easily put back into service. A leaking CO2 system could have been very different

I wouldn't want to be trying to reserect an electrical control board after being hit with DCP nor would I want myself or my kids in an area that required immediate evacuation from a CO2 accidental or intentional leak or activation

Allow for slow leaks and false positive activations. My experience has been that both are more common than sales agents will admit. Also check on inspection and servicing requirements.

How will you refill the unit if required?
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Old 08-01-2020, 17:04   #9
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

It is hard to beat the value of Fireboy automatic systems for enclosed spaces [engine rooms, etc.] on boats our size.

We have a large system in our engine room covering our single propulsion engine, the 10kw gen, forced air diesel heater, water heater, etc.

Our Fireboy kills the main engine and gen if it goes off so those engines don't evacuate the retardant too quickly from the engine room. [Both kills have manual overrides at the helm.]

For portable, we have several 10ABC and 10BC units distributed throughout the boat [including the cockpit...] But ABC [and BC] make a mess and ABC can ruin electronics.

To avoid the mess, we also have several Maus extinguishers [developed for use in space] distributed and will use them first with the others as back-up. [About the size of a 3 C-cell flashlight...]



I had a chance to use one of my Maus in anger last spring when a neighbor's boat at the dock had an inverter catch fire. The Maus unit projected the non-toxic gas cloud ~ 15+ft, lasted 10+ seconds [I didn't time it...] and extinguished the fire without any fuss or mess.

They sell a nozzel attachment for shooting through an access hole into a confined space [e.g., engine room, etc.]

Maus are manual, but I mention them because I believe they are a great tool for cruisers 'out there' to help avoid the cleanup required after using a dry chem extinguisher...

If you have the space, CO2 extinguishers would be worthwhile for this purpose as well.

In case any of this is of interest.

Cheers! Bill

PS: The Admiral has a post about some of our safety strategies with photos of some of what I mentioned above for anyone interested...
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Old 08-01-2020, 17:38   #10
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

I have 5 total Halon fire extinguishers, one in the engine room, one in the Lazarette with the generator, and one behind the circuit breaker panel, and two handhelds.
I also have a larger Halotron and a few dry chemicals.
In my opinion dry chemicals are to be avoided if possible, set one off down below and You have evacuate as you now can breathe or see.
https://seminar.stormtrysailfoundati...e-of-sandpiper

It’s possible that a wash down hose or a garden hose connected to their drinking water system may have saved the boat, don’t underestimate water
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Old 09-01-2020, 06:50   #11
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I have 5 total Halon fire extinguishers, one in the engine room, one in the Lazarette with the generator, and one behind the circuit breaker panel, and two handhelds.
I also have a larger Halotron and a few dry chemicals.
In my opinion dry chemicals are to be avoided if possible, set one off down below and You have evacuate as you now can breathe or see.
https://seminar.stormtrysailfoundati...e-of-sandpiper

It’s possible that a wash down hose or a garden hose connected to their drinking water system may have saved the boat, don’t underestimate water
HALON 1211 hazardous to humans and the planet has been bannned. Apart from some very specific application the later HALON 1301 has also been banned or outlawed. Because of the pressurised storage they are prone to leak and or discharge due to failure of the seals long term. In such circumstances you will not be able to get these refilled and most countries insist you dispose of them at an official facility.

I replaced my HALON engine room systems, about 10 years ago with FirePro aerosol canisters, they are maintenance free, don't damage delicate electronics and because they are non pressurised and essentially inert, replacements, should you need a replacement they can be shipped by air.

Service life is in excess of 15 years

www.firepro.com (no commercial interest)
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Old 16-01-2020, 07:30   #12
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

Blazecut seems like an attractive alternative, easy to install and no maintenance:
Description | BlazeCut
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Old 16-01-2020, 08:18   #13
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

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Blazecut seems like an attractive alternative, easy to install and no maintenance:
Description | BlazeCut
Lots of problems with a system like that that is not specifically designed for marine engine rooms. It has no approvals from marine agencies USCG, ABS, etc. SO as far as your insurance company cares, it is not even there.

Second, it is SMALL, maximum protection is 1m^3. There are engine rooms that small, but not a lot.

Also, a diesel engine needs needs to be shut down on the activation of a fire suppression system. A diesel will keep running, and quickly suck out the extinguishing agent leading to re-ignition of the fire. In the best system, there is an automatic interlock. In the minimum adequate system there is an alarm to tell the operator to shut the engine and/or genset down.
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Old 16-01-2020, 08:26   #14
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

I have a cheap system: Two 20 pound CO2 bottles, one in the forward cabin and one in steerage, both piped with copper into the same copper loop around the engine room with nozzles. Either will displace the oxygen in the engine room, certainly long enough to get the batteries disconnected and the fire stopped. Each has a reminder "turn off the blowers."

Given the very small space modern designs allow for the engine compartment, a much smaller rig would do the same job. I have other defenses, such as Halon through a hole above the engine room and a rigged garden hose, but CO2 is cheap while Halon is very expensive, and they do the same basic job.
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Old 16-01-2020, 08:30   #15
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Re: Fire Suppression Systems

I carry three of the typical DC types, but my first defense is a short (12') garden hose connected to a ball valve tapped to my anchor washdown system. The AW gets tested almost everyday, and I spray the hose out through a port couple of times a year when we are passing through fresh water.


Don't relish spraying salt water all over the inside of my favorite yacht, but leaves the below environment habitable. As mentioned by others you shoot a DC below and it is one and done because the remainder of your fire fighting will be from the cockpit.


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