Fire Extinguishers

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Nathan the Machinist, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007
    Have more than you think you need and put them everywhere. When the shit hits the fan things move quickly and you don't have time to find one or run one down. A solvent fire plus cardboard moves incredibly quickly. When you have several of them and they're in the goddamn way all the time you can find one in that 20 second window when you NEED IT.

    This $190 purchase:

    ^ just saved me a ton of money

    If you don't have some, get some. The one I used I had just put there a few days ago.
    NWPilgrim, GeofS, wkfl and 8 others like this.
  2. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    X 100 (or more). Also, take a hands-on lesson on how to use them (there is technique to practice). - as part of that you should learn the limits of what they can do.

    Also, be aware of required maintenance and inspections (not hard to do but critical). If not maintained correctly, you can pull that trigger and nothing comes out.

    Nathan - I am glad you got your situation under control. Hopefully damage is minimal? I've had lots of training (I was on the emergency response team at work), and I have had to use extinguishers a couple time under emergency conditions. that training was critical. One time literally saved my car from burning up. needed to replace front brake rotors instead of the whole car. Still carry an extinquisher in the back of the car to this day. There is a REASON I had asked in earlier threads about fire risk reduction in the dust/spark collection system of the grinder....
    seanj likes this.
  3. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007
    Sorry for the colorful language, I think I'm a bit shaken, this just happened. What just happened could have been horrible, but nothing bad happened because of a simple precaution I'd implemented. A precaution that I seldom notice in other maker's shops.
    JJ_Colt45 and WValtakis like this.
  4. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    I'm in 100% agreement. I have one extinguisher in my shop and could definitely use more. In fact thanks for reminding me to get more.

    I almost set our house on fire one time soldering copper pipe with a torch. Luckily I had put a fire extinguisher right by me before I started working. All I ended up with was some scorched insulation instead of a burnt down house.
  5. WValtakis

    WValtakis Hand Engraving, Anodizing and Embellishment Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2004
    Glad everything is ok (because of thoughtful precaution) :thumbsup:. Fire prevention and control is something everyone needs to be aware of:).

  6. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    You have a right to be shaken. again, I am glad things are ok.

    For people who are not really familiar with an area fire (especially where there is lots of fuel available, I strongly recommend you watch this video from NIST ( ) What is scary is 1) how fast a fire progresses (even in the absence of an accellerant), and 2) seeing just exactly what the "flash over" is. This can occur within a minute or two of initial ignition, and you do NOT want to be anywhere near it. (and ideally avoid it occurring at by getting that fire out)
  7. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley Riley Knife and Tool Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2007
    I need to double check mine. Good reminder.

    Also, if anyone is using Kidde brand extinguishers, now is a good time to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.
  8. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    In that case I like to wet it all down with soapy water spritz first, then I have little bits of aluminum sheet metal to slip in behind the pipe while working.
    seanj likes this.
  9. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    Housekeeping is important.

    Clearing out cardboard and rags and sawdust, putting solvents in cabinets

    Real certified solvent cabinets are stupid expensive, but even an uncertified metal cabinet is good discipline, small amounts, kept in the cabinet, labelled, caps on.....
    seanj likes this.
  10. NWPilgrim


    Aug 1, 2019
    Just went through fire extinguisher training with the airport fire dept using the same type of 5 lb extinguisher. They train to the acronym PASS:
    Pull the safety pin
    Aim at the base from about 10-15 ft away
    Squeeze the handle trigger
    Sweep the spray slowly side to side.

    You get about 25 seconds of spray time which puts out a LOT of suppressant. If you have never actually used your extinguisher it is worth the cost of recharging to practice at least once with it. Multiple extinguishers is great because you never know if the fire starts between where you are working and you one and only extinguisher. Plus more will unsure against a single failure or multiple fires.
    seanj likes this.
  11. ten-six


    Mar 11, 2017
    Check out ebay for a water extinguisher. They run about $40, they're reusable, and they've saved my shop....twice.

    Plus they're pretty much the ultimate squirt gun fight winner.
  12. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 1, 2010
    Second hand office metal filing cabinets work well for this. I keep all my solvents in one.
    NWPilgrim and 12345678910 like this.
  13. GoldSkula


    Jun 14, 2018
    I've had a fire extinguisher in my shop that had expired so all the pressure had left. Thank god I noticed this and got myself a new fire extinguisher. I also have 10 liters(~2.5 gallons) of water in shop always.
  14. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I have several in different places. You can't go looking for one when you need it.
    NWPilgrim likes this.
  15. HSC ///

    HSC ///

    Nov 7, 2012
    when I worked at a foundry in SoCal years ago, the entire shop underwent fire training, annually.
    We hired a guy who came in with a trailer and he would light up fires and teach us how to put them out with fire extinguishers, including team fire fighting

    A couple things I learned,
    fire/flames are very hot :D
    It's not that easy to put a fire out once it gets to a size say bigger than say a trash can.
    set an annual reminder to check the gauge on your fire extinguisher

    yes that's me on the left :D

    NWPilgrim and seanj like this.
  16. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Water will not work for a solvent based fire - will just spread it (except for sprinkler systems, which overcome the fire by te sheer extent of the delge) The “ABC” powder based extinguishers are extremely effective. With practice, even a 2-3 second burst will knock down a fire. In a panic people tend to empty the whole thing too high up (at the flames not the base) .. then there is nothing left to use. That is why real training/practice is important. You can practice in your backyard ... the powder is fertilizer for the grass!
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    NWPilgrim and Spalted like this.
  17. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Your photos look very familiar to my training! We were fortunate in that a guy in our lab was also a member of the county HAZMAT team, and was qualified to train us. Agreed, fires are HOT. also agreed on size, which is why i earlier stated “learn the limits of an extinguisher”. His guidance basically amounted to “if you have doubts whether you can beat down the fire, GET OUT”. Given how fast they can accelerate, and how quickly they generate poisonous fumes, i take that as excellent advise. Many (or most?) people in fires succumb to the smoke, not the flames.

    (Slight aside for those building dedicated shops: consider putting in a sprinkler system. According to my local fire marshall they are hands down the best way to defeat fires. They are always “on”, activate automatically, and only douse the actual area of the fire (the movie scenario where someone activates a single sprinkler head and they all start dumping water is absolute baloney)
  18. ten-six


    Mar 11, 2017
    They're not for everything but they are extremely effective with a few squirts of soap added. With Cold Fire added they're effective on A C and D fires. They're also almost free to practice with, something most people aren't going to do with a dry chem. An APW shouldn't be your only line of defense but they're a very reliable, affordable, and reusable addition to your firefighting tools. If I've got a fire in my shop I'll take all the help I can get.
    NWPilgrim likes this.
  19. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Huh - I have not heard about Cold Fire. Seems it is most often used in professional firefighting outfits? Nice to know about - thank you!
  20. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    At work, we had monthly checks and tag sign offs and yearly inspection by fire companies - (new tag for the year)
    Hydro static retest and refill when the stamped date said so.

    Pick it up, turn it upside down a couple times, hit it with a rubber hammer if the powder is not free.

    Check for gauge, check for white powder leaks, check that it's not at inspection due date

    We bought new ones on a staggered schedule so we accumulated more but the expiry dates didn't happen all on the same year.

    Consider that women, kids, chinese or tiny folks may have to use them.
    If it was only up to me it would be 10 pound units and up high on the walls.

    Allowing for other users and my now fat old weak self means 5 pound units and lower placement.

    The fire training in the parking lot doesn't cover getting them off the wall.
    No kidding.

    You have to practice getting them off the mounts and whatever latches they have.

    Some have hooks, some latches and snaps.
    That's one point for getting all the same kind - simplify training and use.

    They are filled with baking soda.
    That's why a box of baking soda at the stove is so effective.

    Cleanup after is a real PITA
    That powder will choke you, it's abrasive and attracts moisture which leads to corrosion.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    NWPilgrim likes this.

Share This Page