Importance of Fire Extinguishers

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 18:43
ThreadID: 85929 Views:2923 Replies:15 FollowUps:1
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Hi Guys,

Please do not under estimate the importance of having a fire extinguisher in your vehicle - I very nearly did.

I have had my vehicle for nearly 18 months and only just last Thursday got around to getting a fire extinguisher. It sat in its box in the passenger for 4 days before I had to use it....

I put the vehicle (Prado 150) in the driveway while doing some gardening for a couple of hours then moved it back in to the garage and shut the roller door. I was just about to step into the house when I noticed smoke coming from under the bonnet of the Prado. On popping the bonnet the dual battery isolator was on fire with a lot of smoke and about a 2 inch flame coming out of it.

I ended up emptying the contents of a 1.5kg fire extinguisher onto it in between disconnecting the batteries. I was 2 steps away from going into the house and shutting the door if that had happened bye bye Prado, wife's Subaru and probably some of the house....

I don't know why the isolator failed in such a way. ARB who installed the system are progressing my warranty claim. Hopefully they will replace it with a Redarc as I'm sure I need a smarter solenoid to separate my batteries. As an aside the RAC guy who I called to check I had correctly disconnect the dual battery system said that the wiring was the neatest and most professional looking job he had seen.

If you don't already please consider purchasing a fire extinguisher for your vehicle and having it somewhere easy to get at.


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Reply By: - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 19:17

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 19:17
Thanks for the timely reminder Steve....

I'm still setting up my "new" blandcruiser and I left my 2kg extinguisher on my Patrol when i sold it.

A new extinguisher is now high on the priority list!

Cheers mate

AnswerID: 452609

Reply By: Member - Michael J (SA) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:27

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:27

That is just scary.....I guess that most of us know all of the reasons why to carry extinguishers but to have it happen in your own back yard,,so to speak.

Just imagine, a few weeks ago you could have been out touring..most important thing is to find out why??

Could be of interest to a lot of people.

Glad that it all turned out OK.

AnswerID: 452623

Reply By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:30

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:30
Steve, Happy to hear there was no real damage, extinguishers should be in every car. Reasonable units are cheap to buy these days.I have used mine twice in 40 years, and in both cases on someone else's car. I have 2 in the cruiser, fitted in the front, on the floor on each side, just in front of the seats,where the floor rises to take the front seat mounts, very easy to grab in a hurry. Also 1 in the van + a fire blanket, and 1 in the boat. hopefully I'll never need them. Regards Keith
AnswerID: 452625

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:48

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:48
Hi Steve. Glad all turned out as it did as many have already said, fire is a very scary thing. I would think about having an extinguisher both in the garage and in the house kitchen as well. With mower, mower fuel and what ever else in the garage and cooking in the kitchen I think they are as necessary as smoke alarms. Cheers,Bob

AnswerID: 452634

Reply By: Member - Corrugate75 - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:55

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 20:55
A worthwhile post and reminder. I've just come back from the third breakaway fire in three days (stubble /bush fires) and I'd like to add -
...possibly consider volunteering at your local CFA/CFS so you and learn a bit about types of fire (electrical/bush etc) and how best to put them out!
Thanks for the reminder Steve.
AnswerID: 452636

Reply By: D200Dug- Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:07

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:07
If you are out in dry country and may get grass caught up under your vehicle it is important to carry a water spray bottle of some kind as the dry powder extinguishers will not stop this material from burning.

if the container is only for fires then adding a little detergent ( washing up liquid ) will make it a lot more effective at dowsing a fire.

Always carry an extinguisher, always have one in your kitchen, always learn how to use them BEFORE you need to !
AnswerID: 452641

Reply By: Member - Josh- Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:48

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:48
When we were doing the big lap we travelled with my parents for a while. Cruising a long they suddenly pull over and radio to us "the cars on fire". We do a u turn and fly back to them, my wife was driving and I was in the passanger seat. The fire extinguisher was between me feet. We stopped with my door open and I jump out with the extinguisher in hand ready to go. Turns out the switch for the electric window had shorted out and inside of door lining caught fire. Easy fix but could have been worse. Dad then moved his extinguisher from the back of the cruiser to the front. Not much use if you can't reach them either. Good reminder steve.

AnswerID: 452651

Follow Up By: - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 08:41

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 08:41
It never ceases to amaze me how many people mount their extinguisher on the cargo the rear/cargo area!!!! WTF ????? In case of an emergency, you not only have to get out of your then have to get around to the back area, open it up, probably move a PILE of gear etc just to reach the extinguisher.

In the cab, SECURELY mounted down near the front of the seat/s is the best place.

As a side note, it should be remembered that the powder in these extinguishers can become as hard as concrete over a period of time as they sit in the one position and are pounded by corrogations or even just normal road vibrations.

They need to be removed and shaken severely on a regular basis to keep the powder "free".

FollowupID: 725379

Reply By: equinox - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:58

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 21:58
Hi Stephen,

Glad you saved the situation in time.

Another important point is to make sure that after every trip (or before) you give the power type extinguisher a good shake and a hit to loosen it all up, as the power has a tendancy to settle.

This was proved to me in 2003 when on the Gary Highway my quad cycle caught fire and the power type extinguisher from my accompanying hired vehicle did not work even though the gauge said it was pressurised.


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AnswerID: 452654

Reply By: River Swaggie - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:02

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:02
Your spot on mate,Ive always had an extinguisher in my vehicles,always thought i'd use it for someone else that's in trouble,whether a car accident or fire place issue etc,not that i'd use it close to home like yours,there cheap enough everyone should hav them in my opinion.... i
AnswerID: 452655

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:04

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:04
Hi Stephen,

Nasty surprise there - glad you had the extinguisher to hand so not too much damage.


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AnswerID: 452656

Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:14

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:14
Iposted about this experience previously but is worth repeating.Quite a few years ago while I was working as a surveyor I was parked in the bush having lunch with my reading glasses resting on the dash of the Troopy.After a while Icould smell something burning and realised it was the sun that had focussed through the reading glasses onto a newspaper on the seat and started the paper smouldering.I shudder to think what would have happened if I was not in the car as no one would have guessed the cause if the car had burnt.It probably was a very one off situation but shows what can happen---so as said try to eliminate all causes of fire and definately have that extinguisher in a handy place.
AnswerID: 452659

Reply By: Member - Richard L (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:23

Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 at 22:23
Good thread Steve,

Just like to add that the extinguisher should be serviced regularly, like somebody said if they don't work then their no good. Your local CFA will do the service

AnswerID: 452661

Reply By: Member - Royce- Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 00:07

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 00:07
Crossing the Tanimi in 1996 my little old Subaru caught on fire.

The battery had shaken loose and the metal clamp had arced. The side of the actual battery was burning.

My wife grabbed the extinguisher and struggled with the green safety pull thingy, while my daughter screamed and ran away and my son started taking pictures.

Meanwhile the fire burned.... I remembered that Jack Absolum always has a warm can of beer ready to spray on a fire... and we always use a spray nozzle in bursts in CFA for electrical fires. The wife continued to phaph around....

I filled my mouth with spit and sprayed it over the fire... worked!
A rubber gloved siliconed over the hole [size of a fist], a cuppa and we were on the road again.

and... we still had a good extinquisher ready for he next firey adventure!
AnswerID: 452668

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 19:29

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 19:29
Hi Steve

Yes you are very lucks not to loose the whole lot and it would have been a very scary situation.

And by the way, your screen name is very original.


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AnswerID: 452774

Reply By: blue one - Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 20:58

Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 20:58
I had the same problem with an ARB isolator.

There was never any feedback from ARB as to what caused the fire.

The only thing I could put it down to was that the winch was connected to the 2nd battery. Therefore the full load of the winch was drawn through the isolator under load when using the winch.

The morning of the fire I was gardening with the winch!

ARB rewired the elec system and replaced the isolator. The rewire had the winch off the primary battery. Funny about that.

AnswerID: 452783

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