Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fire Extinguisher Saves Burning Man

I'm glad that the people in the attached story were thinking clearly and used a fire extinguisher to save a persons life. What I often fear is that in the movies I see actors using CO2 extinguishers to put out people, or use them as a weapon. A CO2 Extinguisher is pressurized at 850 PSI to keep the gas in a liquid state. When discharging the extinguisher the liquid passes through a diffuser to help bleed off pressure, and allow it to be controlled. It is essentially liquid dry ice that quickly turns to a gas. The danger is if someone should get this stream in the face the possiblility of blinding the person is very real. Another issue with CO2 extinguishers are the hoses. They are rubber coated braided metal. The reason for this is that while discharging the extinguisher the liquid turning to gas creates static electricity. If the continuity of the hose is broken the person operating the extinguisher can receive a severe shock, and it has been recorded that this shock could damage, or stop a persons pacemaker. This is why we do a continuity test during the annual inspections of these extinguishers. 

One last thought while talking about CO2 extinguishers is the danger of having them in commercial kitchens. Should the CO2 extinguisher be discharged into a burning deep fat fryer. The extreme cold introduced to the extreme heat (Deep Fat Fryers spontaneously ignite at 750 degrees F) The combination will cause an explosion most likely killing the person holding the extinguisher. If you have concerns about the types of extinguishers you have, and what sort of hazard they should be protecting feel free to contact us so that we can work together to ensure a safe workplace.

Posted by Rob Read at 6:23 PM

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