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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-10-2009
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Fire Extinguisher Locations

The safety package that the dealer supplied with our new Bene 31 included 3 ABC fire extinguishers, still in the boxes. Any thoughts on where to mount these? My initial thought was one in each berth, and one just inside the companionway, where it could be quickly reached from the cockpit and the galley.

OTOH, does it make sense to mount one in the cockpit proper where one wound not have to enter the cabin to reach it? I'm not sure how to do that; perhaps in a lazarette?
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Generally, I would recommend mounting one inside the cabin, forward of the galley, so that if a galley fire breaks out and you're inside the cabin, you can use it to suppress the fire long enough to get out of the cabin. Same thing with the electrical panel or navigation console, where the electrical system is often located.

Having one near the engine compartment—preferably a Halon replacement type, and a fire port in the engine compartment cover, is probably a good way to deal with engine fires. A better solution would be a fixed automatic fire extinguisher in the engine compartment.

Having one in the cockpit is a good idea, since most cockpit often have a barbeque grill mounted nearby, and it can help with galley fires, since the galley is often by the companionway. Mine is mounted on the companionway dropboard rails—just outside the port side of the companionway.
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Old 06-11-2009
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i have 3, one in the head, one in the salon, and one in a lazerette
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Having once endured a galley fire aboard a boat I can tell you there is nothing worse. We were fortunate that an old wool blanket was close at hand and allowed us to smother the fire before the entire boat went up.

Based on that experience we have fire extinguishers in each cabin/compartment aboard our boat--including heads--positioned near the doors so they are in easy reach; and, one in the sail locker that opens in the cockpit. We have a CO2 Extinguisher in the main cabin and we keep a Fire Blanket on the inside of the door opposit the Galley. (See TheFireStore.com: Kovenex Rapid Response Blanket: Kitchen (7oz, 37"x34") . For the little cost, a Fire Blanket is worth its weight in Gold. One must, however, conduct fire drills once in awhile to keep everyone aware of where the gear is and how to use it.

We also have a Fireboy automatic extinguisher positioned in the Engine Room. While costly, these do give us a good discount on our insurance.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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I'd second the use of a fireblanket for galley fires.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Third on the fireblanket...guess why I got rid of the alcohol stove! And my eyebrows for a couple of months...

As for the boat, I use the "in/out" logic...Any place with the potential of a a fire, I put in an extinguisher. But I also put an extinguisher in places where I would need to suppress a fire to get out, such as in a sleeping area/V-berth, or in the cockpit so I could douse a fire down the companionway.

In the steel pilothouse, I currently have fire extinguishers in the galley, in a pilothouse berth and at the base of the companionway (the titular engine bay extinguisher). In order to feel safer, I will add one for the aft cabin (only one exit via the pilothouse, so it's a definite!), one for the bow section "workshop" (an obviously source of flammables and potentially sparky tools), and one or maybe two actually on deck with weatherproof covers, so I can spray *into* the boat if needed.

Lastly, given that my engine bay has the room and is otherwise "confined", I believe a Fireboy-style fire suppression system makes good sense, although a "fire port" could probably do the trick.

The greater danger on a steel boat is toxic smoke from burning insulation and wiring: if you can get the fire down quickly enough, you stand a good chance of saving the boat, because it's hard to damage the hull...well, quickly, anyway.
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Valiente--Beneteau's usually come stock with fire-ports to the engine compartment and they have their merit. Unfortunately, however, one can get a pretty good blaze going in that space without even being aware of it until smoke begins to issue from the vent's on the transom. With the automatic extinguisher--particularly coupled with an engine shut-off--a small problem can be prevented from becoming a catastrophe.

FWIW...

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Definitely have one that is reachable from outside of the cabin.
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bacampe, the rule of thumb is that those small extinguishers can put out one small garbage can's worth of flame at best, and they will last less than 30 seconds. If you've never used one, ask your local FD or USCG if they conduct any demonstrations, you really want to experience the way they work. I've seen folks pull the trigger and then just stop--because the noise and cloud spook them. Or, use it from the wrong distance because they simply don't know the right one. It helps to actually have used one, or at least seen it used.

They also create a fog of yellow powder that makes it hard to see and breath, btw, so you want to use it and scram, whether it has worked or not.

We keep one at the side of the companionway, so it can be grabbed from above or below, and another in the v-berth just inside the entrance. A third by the mast in the cabin, where it can be reached by someone going either way.

Before you mount it, also consider what may foul on it (i.e. lines hanging in the companionway) or whether anyone may hit their head on it, or be thrown on it.

The fire blanket is definitely a good idea, they last forever and need zero maintenance, no recharging, and make no mess when they are used. A dry powder extinguisher will leave you with yellow "dust" in every corner of the boat for weeks after using it. And of course, the fire blanket doubles as a tea cozy in case your teapot doesn't already have one. (VBG)
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I'd point out that the yellow dust is also fairly corrosive and death to electronics... but the Halon replacement type fire extinguishers are only really usable in very confined environments—like the inside of a sealed engine compartment.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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