Fire Extinguisher : 101

Fire Extinguisher : 101

What to Look for in a Car Fire Extinguisher

About Fire Extinguishers
Using a Fire Extinguisher
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First Aid for Fire
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Biggest Fires in History

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This page is intended to provide individuals with general information pertaining to car fire extinguisher features and other elements of a vehicle fire safety kit.

As an essential part of every vehicle safety kit, a car fire extinguisher is a specialty product designed to do a specific job. Although your vehicle is assembled with optimum safety in mind, many of its components are potential fire hazards. Should you encounter a sudden and dangerous fire situation, having a fire extinguisher on hand will allow you to fight the blaze and deter excessive vehicle damage.

Car Fire ExtinguisherWhat Size of Fire Extinguisher Suits a Car?
Weight determines the size of fire extinguishers; they are also categorized by the fire repellent they contain. There are many models on the market right now that are small and compact, ideal for a personal vehicle. These 2 lb or 1 kg (approximate conversion) fire extinguishers are light enough to handle easily and small enough to fit into most cars unobtrusively.

Commercial vehicles must carry a fire extinguisher based on NFPA regulation, and most often do not require a model weighing more than 5 lb (2.3 kg).

What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best-Suited for a Car?
Your vehicle presents several different fire hazards: oil, gas, electrical wires and upholstery. Your car fire extinguisher must be able to handle every possible mishap.

Dry powder fire extinguishers are the best choice for a vehicle or boat. The fire repellent inside is rated for use on any A, B and C or E class of fire (depending on your national fire classifications). This means that a dry powder car fire extinguisher will fight fuel and electrical related fires, as well as common organic combustibles such as upholstery, paper, cloth and wood products that are integral to your vehicle.

General Properties of a Quality Car Fire Extinguisher
Shopping for a fire extinguisher to store in your vehicle for safety purposes can be overwhelming. Here are some essential features to look for:

  • Light weight - under 2 lb is ideal
  • Compact shape – an elongated, cylinder shape is practical
  • Durable body – preferably aluminum as that material is corrosion-free and light
  • Ready filled – available for immediate use
  • Easily serviced – can be filled and serviced by a regular fire services company
  • Storage clip or mount included – an under-seat or trunk mount is convenient, and some have useful clips that hook unto other places in the vehicle
  • Controlled discharge – should have a durable and controlled trigger
  • Good warranty – to ensure you are protected from faulty manufacturing
  • Certified to Local Fire Standards - always buy a fire extinguisher that has been labeled with local certification.

Service your car fire extinguisher in the same way that you would service your home extinguisher. It should be recharged or replaced after every use, even if it was not completely discharged at the time of operation. Regular maintenance includes a monthly inspection and an annual service that typically involves a recharge.

Other Elements of a Vehicle Fire Safety Kit
Besides a vehicle fire extinguisher, it is wise to have a fire blanket, maintenance tools, small pylons, and cold weather body protection in your safety kit. These items are meant to ensure a safe trip for all.



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