Saturday, July 23, 2011

These Fire Extinguishers Can Kill

They are now a hot collector piece but back
in the 20-60's these units could be found just about everywhere. They where designed to save lives and put out fires but the could just as well kill you.

Starting with the Brass Badger tip over unit on the right
which was filled with water and had inside a small bottle of acid which would open and cause the water to flow out in a strong stream due to the water and acid mixing. I saw them being used at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Academy in 60's with my Cub Scout pack .
along with a now also no longer used item a rescue net. Back then this was state of the art in putting out trash and wood fires you simply picked unit up and tipped it over.
The problem was with the acid it could over pressurize the container if the hose would become blocked and cause the extinguisher to explode injuring or killing the person using it.
Needless to say it took 40 plus years but they finally banned there use but you can still find full ones sitting around waiting to hurt some one. If you find one of these or any very old unit that feels full take it to local fire hall or fire extinguisher servicing outfit so it can be safely discharged and disposed of or kept as a display model only use.
The Middle and right extinguishers also where designed with the best of intentions to put out fire you sprayed the enclosed chemical and the fire would go out and if you breathed any of it in after it heated up it would kill you with only a couple breathes.
These units where filled with Carbon Tetrachloride. An excellent fire stopper and cleaner of metal which when it comes in contact with heat produces Phosegene also known as Nerve Gas
which can kill instantly. Carbon Tet as it was known in the trade is now a banned substance as it is carcinogenic compound and is no longer produced. Again these units need safely discharged and disposed of and or strictly used as display pieces

So you got to be saying to your self did they not know better making such fire extinguishers back then? Well apparently not and to this day dangerous items are still being produced and recalled all the time because everyone is in a rush to get something to market but not due the required research. its a dam shame but what will be the next recalled deadly item the fire service produces?

By the way if you are a Face Book member come check out my wall I have all kinds of pictures of old Fire and burglar alarm equipment to see.

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