After rescuing parts from the boneyard, one usually drags them back to a home shop to clean, modify, and install. That means working with greasy parts, solvent, gasoline, cleaners, and all sorts of combustible materials. After you’ve worked on cars for a while, you begin to take all these hazardous materials for granted, and fire safety is generally the last thing you think about when a project is at hand. This fact smacked us in the face a few months ago when we learned that longtime hot rodder Tom Medley, one of the original Petersen Publishing Co. employees and the creator of the Stroker McGurk cartoon character, lost his garage in a fire. Tom’s ’40 Ford coupe backfired, and the resulting flames turned the car and Medley’s garage into charred wreckage. Thankfully, Medley was not injured, but the shop was totaled.
This, of course, triggered a thought about fire protection in my personal shop. My inventory revealed one 30-year-old, 10-pound extinguisher and a highly questionable 1-pound disposable extinguisher as my only means of combating a fire. This quickly resulted in the purchase of one 10-pound dry-chemical and two 10-pound HalGuard fire extinguishers. It also resulted in a discussion about fire extinguisher facts with Chris Deiter of H3R Performance, a company that sells both dry-chemical fire extinguishers and the new HalGuard Halotron 1 clean extinguishing agents.
Fire Extinguisher Facts: Extinguishing Agents If you’ve ever used a dry-chemical fire extinguisher, you know what a horrible mess that corrosive white powder leaves behind. If it gets inside an engine, you must disassemble it to prevent that nasty powder from destroying expensive parts. Conversely, HalGuard (Halotron 1) is a rapidly evaporating liquid that is both noncorrosive and nonconductive, so it’s a good choice for fighting electrical (type C) automotive fires or those involving liquid (type B). In terms of size, larger is always better, especially for any decent-size garage.
Fire Extinguisher Facts: Size A good way to evaluate fire extinguishers is to compare their ratings, which are tied to their size. For example, Kidde’s Pro 340 dry-chemical unit is rated 3-A: 40-B-C. Compare this with Kidde’s smaller Pro 210 with ratings 2-A: 10-B: C. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. In this case, the Pro 340 is rated higher basically because it’s larger, with 5.5 pounds of chemical versus the smaller unit’s 4 pounds. The ratings are only used on A- and B-type fires. C-type extinguishers are not rated.
Fire Extinguisher Facts: Price
Of course, an extinguishing agent this good makes the HalGuard fire extinguishers more expensive. But consider the $300 to $500 investment as cheap insurance that allows you to knock down a small fire before it turns into a conflagration that could transform your shop and cars into charred ashes. All you have to do is think of how foolish you would feel if your shop became a smoldering wreck and your buddy asked you why you didn’t have a good fire extinguisher.
Fire Extinguishers Parts List
|H3R HalGuard 5-pound, red ||HG500R||Summit Racing||$219.95 |
|H3R HalGuard 21⁄2-pound, black||HG250B||Summit Racing||134.95|
|H3R bottle clamp, 21⁄2-pound ||BB250B||Summit Racing||84.95|
|H3R 1 3⁄4-inch rollbar mount||BMR02B||Summit Racing||44.95|
|H3R surface mount||BMF01B||Summit Racing||44.95|
|Kidde PRO 460, 10-pound extinguisher||21005785||Home Depot||69.97|
H3R Performance; Larkspur, CA; 800/249-4289; H3RPerformance.com
Kidde; Mebane, NC; 800/880-6788; Kidde.com
Before I updated, this antique was my sole means of protection. I think this ABC unit came
H3R’s Chris Deiter told us that even when the gauge indicates good pressure, the dry chemi
We also bought a Kidde Pro 460 10-pound dry-chemical, ABC-style extinguisher that hangs in
Additionally, we mounted an H3R HalGuard HG250B extinguisher in our Orange Peel Chevelle.
This H3R mount uses a billet aluminum clamp around the bottle and a 13⁄4-inch rollbar moun
Here is our H3R extinguisher mounted on the rollbar, just behind the driver seat. To acces