FIRE EXTINGUISHER INFORMATION

Type of Extinguisher

Class of Fire

Notes:

Carbon Dioxide
(C02)

B, C

Carbon Dioxide is a class B, C, agent only.  Because of the CO2 high pressure, it is not recommended for use on Class A, amber and ash based fires.  Why? Because of the hazard of spreading the fire when blasting it with the high pressure gas.

Halon
(until year 2000)

A, B, C

Halon 1211 carries the A, B, C rating only in a capacity of 9 pounds.  Units smaller than 9 pounds only carry the B, C rating.  Halon gas vaporizes too quickly to maintain a Class A fire in small quantities.

Dry Chemical

B, C

Dry chemical extinguishers come in three varieties.  Sodium Bicarbonate B, C (Alkaline); Potassium Bicarbonate, Purple "K", B, C (Alkaline); and Mono Ammonium Phosphate A, B, C (Acidic).  The A, B, C dry chemical is not recommended for marine use for two reasons:

  1. It is corrosive
  2. The way in which this agent obtains it class A rating is its ability to melt, seep and encase.  This necessitates dismantling of equipment to repair or rebuild.

Foam

A, B

Foam extinguishers are water based and quench Class A fires.  They also blanket, smother and separate the vapor layer in Class B fires.

 

Fire Extinguishers

Next in line after Personal Flotation Devices, fire extinguishers are a very important safety item.  Although all motorboats are not required to carry a fire extinguisher, it is highly recommended that you do.  There are numerous types and sizes of extinguishers but each one has to be U.  S.  Coast Guard approved.

Fire Extinguishers are classified by letters and numbers according to the class and size fire they can put out.  The letter, (A, B, C, or D) indicates the class of fire.  The number is a measure of the capacity of the extinguisher - the larger the number the greater the capacity to put out a fire.

"A" is for combustible solids like wood

"B" is for flammable liquids such as gasoline

"C" is for electrical fires.

"D" is for combustible metals like magnesium

Although some boat fires involve burning wood and paper (Class A), these fires can be put out with water.  Do not use water on gasoline, oil, or electrical fires.  Water causes gasoline and oil fires to spread and electrical current is conducted through the water.

Submitted by Ed Kennedy