Tuesday, 01 November 2016 08:41

Urgent Alert to Factories & Workshops - Fire Extinguishers Must be Type Tested

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US-made First Alert extinguisher had undisclosed additional safety catch trigger

A US-made fire extinguisher on sale in New Zealand features an undisclosed second-tier safety trip which is in addition to the standard pull-pin release mechanism.

The second tier safety device on the extinguisher is comprised of a barely visible plastic filament. This must be pressed simultaneously with the white trigger at the top.

No indication is given on the instructions of the existence of this additional filament-press detonation mechanism. The three part operating instruction only states to Pull Pin/Aim/Press Lever.

Absolutely no mention is made of the barely visible filament device which also needs to be pressed in order to detonate the extinguisher.. Neither is this secondary device pictured on the extinguisher.
A reader has presented the now-used extinguisher (pictured) to MSC-Newswire in order to draw attention to the need to for factories and workshops to test operationally one example of each of their fire extinguisher brands and model types in order for this type of problem to be identified prior to a fire instead of afterward.

The pictured extinguisher was thought to be faulty and valuable moments were lost in fighting a real-life fire. In the event hoses were required to put out a fire which could have been instantly extinguished had the pictured device been brought to bear at the start of the fire.

A problem with New Zealand’s imported extinguishers is that just because they are made for other jurisdictions with other national safety regulations so there will be differing levels of operating procedures and these, as in the instance of this US extinguisher, may not be pictured or described on the device itself.

All factory and works safety officials should test under operational conditions one sample of every brand and series model type of its extinguishers urged our informant. They noted that factory fires were volatile just because of the works environment. Every split second was crucial in suppressing them. Secondary, and in the instance of the pictured extinguisher, disguised activation steps must be factored in. Something that could only be achieved by practical and applied type-testing

“We want others to learn from our experience with this problem which itself seems to be hidden from sight.”

From the MESCNewsWire reporters' desk