Helpful Info. Fire Fighting

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Silent Bob

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The issue of firefighting capabilities came up in a planning discussion. Not having experienced fire fighting up close, I decided to download and thumb through some good pdf's on firefighting. In rural situations, this might even become more of an issue after the SHTF. Access to fire equipment and pumpers will not exist, so even possibly looking over documents that are from the early 1900's, when hand pumping was still a modern way to fight fires, might be an alternative.
 

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Tommy H

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Let me throw in a couple of suggestions based on over thirty years of service as an active firefighter. When you are planning any changes to a home or acquiring a new one give some thought to the possibility of the outbreak of fire. Maintain the clearances recommended by your local fire authority between the exterior of your home and the more highly flammable types of natural ground cover.

Make sure that whatever provides your water will work during a fire. If your homes water pressure depends on a well pump then have the electrical supply kept separate from any structure you might need to use the water on. That can be done by having a separate electrical service disconnect for your well pump that is not located in or on a building. In much of the US; wherever the US National Electric Code is the standard for electrical safety in buildings and on private properties; the electrical codes specifically allow the use of a separate disconnect for a well pump that will furnish water for first aid fire fighting.

When looking for fire extinguishers choose those that can be refilled without special tools or equipment. Hand pumped extinguishers can be refilled from any source of clear water. Cartridge operated extinguishers can be refilled from a fifty pound pail of fire extinguisher chemical and screw in a new cartridge. Cartridge operated extinguishers are quite expensive unless you wait until you can buy them used but the refill supplies are a lot cheaper than commercial servicing of the extinguisher.

The rules on fire extinguishers here in the US were recently changed in order to force the purchase of a lot of new extinguishers. Extinguishers that have directions that are not expressed as pictographs are being taken out of service in places that are required by law to have code compliant equipment. That will make a lot of perfectly operational fire extinguishers available on the salvage market at scrap metal prices. Stored pressure water extinguishers can be refilled using clear water and a bicycle pump. Since most prepers will tend to learn how to use their equipment before they need it the outdated units with the printed user directions can be perfectly fine for use in and around your home. The only thing different about the new extinguishers is that they have pictographic instructions. There has been no actual change in how they are built or operated.

Investing in Class A foam and nozzles for your water based fire extinguishers will make them much more effective than plain water alone. Backpack type fire extinguishers are available used for relatively short money if you look. A new foam nozzle for those is only about ten dollars and shipping. You can get the foam solution in premeasured bottles that you just dump into the tank when you refill it.

With a little thought and ingenuity you can develop a firefighting capability that is not only self sufficient to use but also can be returned to service after use without outside help.

Tommy
 

Graynomad

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I have refillable water extinguishers, they are great and if you are ever challenged to a water fight your opponents won't know what hit them :)

I just fitted a 2" camlock fitting to one of my tanks and will soon get a firefighter petrol pump and some canvas hose that will reach all around the house.
 

Gazrok

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Hmm...I need to rethink my fire safety. I've long been adding extinguishers here and there, but there are a couple that need to be recharged, and all of mine are the modern type and not water types. Would be nice to have some of those too.

Currently, have extinguishers in the kitchen, near the electrical panel, and in each tack room, as well as the workbench of the garage. Ideally, I'd like to have another in the kitchen, at least 4 in each barn, and one by each exterior door.
 

Tommy H

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Hmm...I need to rethink my fire safety. I've long been adding extinguishers here and there, but there are a couple that need to be recharged, and all of mine are the modern type and not water types. Would be nice to have some of those too.

Currently, have extinguishers in the kitchen, near the electrical panel, and in each tack room, as well as the workbench of the garage. Ideally, I'd like to have another in the kitchen, at least 4 in each barn, and one by each exterior door.
Make sure that you use some sort of freeze protection for the ones in the barn unless the climate there makes that unnecessary. One old trick was to build a box to hold the extinguisher, insulate it with rigid insulation, and install an incandescent bulb in the bottom of the box as a marker for it's location with the waste heat keeping the box warm enough to prevent freezing. With incandescent bulbs becoming unavailable we will have to add some sort of thermostatically controlled heat source to the extinguisher boxes.

If the Fire extinguishers are kept in the portion of the barn that houses livestock the animals body heat may well keep that area warm enough to avoid freezing.

--
Tommy
 

Gazrok

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Yep, no freeze worries here. (FL)...
 

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