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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Fire Onboard, Very Close Call!
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Thread: Fire Onboard, Very Close Call! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-23-2012 08:56 PM
pdqaltair
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
The fire blanket seems great, for when the fire happens to be right on top of the galley in such a way that covering it from above will close off the oxygen supply, like the pan fire in the YM video. But I don't see a blanket working when the fire is inside, behind, or below the stove.

Obviously. It is just one tool. The rules require minimum fire extinguisher capacities and we are suggesting no less.

The (proper) extinguisher works in all situations and therefore doesn't require me to make decisions about which tool is appropriate for the job in a situation where my decision-making ability might be impaired.

Maybe my fire drill should be, apply the blanket, then ready the extinguisher and inspect.

You MUST think clearly. That is at the heart of seamanship. If you have never put out a grease fire or a camp fire with a blanket or towel, you need to, in order to have skill and confidence. If you have never used a fire extinguisher, you need to, several times with several geometries, in order to have skill, confidence and a respect for the limitations of dry chemical; it is much less effective than you think it is and the fire can easily re-light from the heat since there is little cooling effect. For example, a bucket of water may work better on a big hunk of burning, melting fiberglass.
We are using the word "drill" in the wrong sense. Like an MOB "drill", it needs to be real. Someone in the water.

The other thing that bothered me was a response that an extinguisher gives you more "distance." If you have a fire at sea, you are in a real fight and you may be taking the boat apart to get to it, to find the source, and to eliminate the fuel. Each situation is different. We had a small electrical fire off-shore once (a fan melted) and it became very clear that we HAD to find the source and we HAD to get it out (not too surprisingly a fan is tough to figure out, since it blows the smoke everywhere).

Time can be very short. In a few minutes you need to get it out, while you are also doing other things:
* distress call
* organizing crew or guests
* launch raft or tender
* ditch bag, or
* what should have been in the ditch bag
Very busy.

Since a fire at sea means either getting it out or going for a swim (or dingy), the effort must be an aggressive battle waged without any panic... until the gas tank is in question, and then you better bolt, as I watched a gas powered boat go once at the dock (unattended--perhaps a bilge pump); it didn't "blow" but it did flare suddenly..
01-23-2012 08:01 PM
AdamLein The fire blanket seems great, for when the fire happens to be right on top of the galley in such a way that covering it from above will close off the oxygen supply, like the pan fire in the YM video. But I don't see a blanket working when the fire is inside, behind, or below the stove.

The (proper) extinguisher works in all situations and therefore doesn't require me to make decisions about which tool is appropriate for the job in a situation where my decision-making ability might be impaired.

Maybe my fire drill should be, apply the blanket, then ready the extinguisher and inspect.
01-23-2012 07:26 PM
Leocat66
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBilll View Post
Something I will check on any similar stove I get from now on, you don't have to make the whole hose copper, but make a drip loop before the coupling adapter. That way it doesn't run all the way down the hose.
That is a great idea Capt. Bill. So is the stainless braided hose or cover. I think I will try the drip loop with a foot or so of copper and then connect it to the rubber fuel hose. That seems to allow some movement for the gimbal without stressing the copper. All of the tubing on the stove at purchase from Taylors is 1/8" copper which seems fine. It however does not move and suffers no stress issues.

I really feel that even with the leak, had the rubber hose been further from the stove it would not have melted and the result would not have been as serious.

I have used a wet towel before on an alc stove top and it works well. In my case the fire was under the stove with a small clearance. No room for a blanket there, and the extinguisher was at arms length. The fire in the rear was at the very bottom of the compartment where the hull slope meets the vertical cabinet back. I had no towel in reach and no time to water soak it and throw it into the hole. I was also concerned with the possible damage to the hull glass on which all in the compartment was laying. I feel that I had only one choice under these conditions.

I do however have choices from now on, and will try to plan better should the occasion arise. Better fire extinguishers, a handy blanket, fire jell, fuel supply loop in copper or stainless. Thank You All!
01-23-2012 07:16 PM
pdqaltair
Agreed. Which is why quick, clear headed reactions are so important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
pdq-
Good lateral thinking but
Fisrt, you go forward to get a towel
Second, you go aft to get a bucket and line out of the lazarette, assuming the galley sink is not accessible or the pressure water not on
Third, towel overboard in bucket
Fourth, return to galley...

Even if you grab a wet towel from the settee you're giving the fire too much time. A fire's size doubles every 30 seconds and if it is behind the stove, etc., you don't want to start looking and thinking.

There really are fire blankets, they are not expensive. Aramid or kevlar, yes, pricey, plain old cheap tight wool blanket will do equally well. It really should be in a box, wall mounted and ready to pull and use, if you plan to use it. The extinguisher allows you to keep a little further back from the flames though, so it might still be worth the mess.
People tend to hesitate to use an extinguish, for a number of reasons, and that time is critical. A cool headed person instinctively uses a blanket or something equivalent where appropriate; they quickly remove any nearby fuel and then smother the fire. I've worked around combustion testing labs and welding a good bit, where puting out little blazes is commonplace and reflexive.

I'm sure I can wet a towel in less than 10 seconds with less ritual (); several always hang near the companionway (cats are broad there) and I have steps on the transom. Most cooking is at anchor, if that is the example.

I like the fact that a blanket tends to confine the flames; in addition to the mess, extinguishers can knock things about.

I'd forgotten fire blankets were wool when I was a kid. Almost a reason to carry one.

I like the idea of a kitchen towel that could be dual-purpose; very flame retardant and a bit larger than typical for a hand towel. An idea for the chandlers listening at the edges!

----

But there's nothing like a good ol' wet blanket!
01-23-2012 06:06 PM
CapnBilll
Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I'd advise you check into that application of copper. Copper work hardens and cracks from vibration - that's why copper fuel lines on cars got phased out about 100 years ago. If you want the fuel line armoured, consider stainless braided hose or at least a braided stainless sheath over your conventional hose.

Something I will check on any simular stove I get from now on, you don't have to make the whole hose copper, but make a drip loop before the coupling adaptor. That way it doesn't run all the way down the hose.
01-23-2012 06:04 PM
CapnBilll
Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Thanks for the tip Faster! I still have the old alcohol stove which works well and a kero cabin heater. Both have alcohol priming. I'll most definitely try the torch idea. The heater is a big PITA to get primed. Know what you mean about fumes from the alcohol. Fire aboard is just plain scary. Glad you didn't go up in flames Leocat. Sounds like you were on it quickly.
Alchohol always frightened me as a fuel, as it wets most surfaces, disolves most plastics, and can wick up from a leak, has a low flashpoint, and LEL, and evaporates at room temperature.
01-23-2012 06:02 PM
CapnBilll
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
Is this really true? I use a pressurized kerosene cabin heater and have gotten it to produce that familiar thick black smoke when it wasn't preheated enough. To me that's burning liquid kerosene.

NO, They are exagerating, anything flammable can burn when exposed to air, and heat.

The stoves don't work well unless the Kerosine is preheated enough to produce a fine mist, or vapor through the stove orfice.

But drop a match on a puddle, and unless the intial dunking puts the match out you wil have a fire.

The entire city of Chicago can attest kerosine burns and can start a fire when a kerosine lamp is kicked over by a horse.
01-23-2012 05:56 PM
hellosailor pdq-
Good lateral thinking but
Fisrt, you go forward to get a towel
Second, you go aft to get a bucket and line out of the lazarette, assuming the galley sink is not accessible or the pressure water not on
Third, towel overboard in bucket
Fourth, return to galley...

Even if you grab a wet towel from the settee you're giving the fire too much time. A fire's size doubles every 30 seconds and if it is behind the stove, etc., you don't want to start looking and thinking.

There really are fire blankets, they are not expensive. Aramid or kevlar, yes, pricey, plain old cheap tight wool blanket will do equally well. It really should be in a box, wall mounted and ready to pull and use, if you plan to use it. The extinguisher allows you to keep a little further back from the flames though, so it might still be worth the mess.
01-23-2012 05:24 PM
pdqaltair
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
For those who have not see this. Yachting Monthly trashed a Jeanneau to demonstrate emergencies.



I really like the fire blanket idea; but have never seen one on a boat.
Yes you do. A damp beach towel. Perhaps more effective in most cases. I used one on a neighbor's outboard once; he over filled the tank and then started it. I had a towel over my neck (sheer luck--just to a swim) which was already quite damp. I just through it over the engine. Put it right out, before there was any damage, not even paint.

That said, if it is a grease fire, too much water could make it splatter. But really, that would be under the towel and not very important.

You're just thinking store-bought vs. old school and effective.

Of course, we would have simply put the lid on the pan.
01-23-2012 03:06 PM
AdamLein
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leocat66 View Post
Kero ... cannot be lit with an open flame unless atomized and heated first.
Is this really true? I use a pressurized kerosene cabin heater and have gotten it to produce that familiar thick black smoke when it wasn't preheated enough. To me that's burning liquid kerosene.
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