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Extinguishers for oxygen cylinders in people carriers

Guest TonyMcK

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Guest TonyMcK

Part of our business is moving passengers in people carriers which have Oxygen Cylinders on them. We therefore have 2kg powder fire extinguishers on the vehicles and we are not sure which legislation covers these, and what maintenance is required for them? There is some discussion between parts of the business as to whether they require and annual service similar to the large office extinguishers or whether a visual inspection is acceptable. Any help at all on this would be very much appreciated.


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Oxygen doesn't burn so the extinguishers would not be for these, but for a fire in the passenger or engine compartments.

The only laws  covering extinguishers are the PSV Regs and the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regs that cover the provision on Public Service Vehicles (Buses & coaches) and Minibuses respectively and for vehicles carrying hazardous substances (over certain thresholds) the ADR Regulations.

Taxis have local requirements as part of their licensing and different local authorities have different requirements.

Your vehicles don't fall under any of these and don't automatically require extinguishers. The normal annual service regime in BS5306-3 does not apply to vehicle based extinguishers however to ensure efficacy a service would be preferred to a visual check, although the later is sufficient legally.

I would be more worried about the fact that you are using powder extinguishers which if discharged would make the people you transport (chronic lung diseases hence the O2) very very ill as the finely divided powder causes difficulty in breathing and coughing even in healthy people. Ambulances usually have small foam extinguishers because of this and all buses and coaches have to use foam as powder is specifically prohibited by the regulations for these vehicles.

Therefore I would change the powder extinguishers for 1 or 2 litre foam spray (if the powders are 5 years old or more they are due replacement anyway), and then regularly visually inspect them.

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As Anthony said, it would be a good idea to replace the powder units with something more suitable. Oxygen doesn't burn, but an increase in the oxygen levels would mean that other items will burn easier, quicker and hotter than usual, making it more difficult to extinguish a fire in an oxygen rich environment.

A water mist fire extinguishers would be ideal as it can starve the fire of oxygen while cooling the fire and is also harmless to people in the event of a clothing fire.


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  • 1 month later...
Guest Jerzy Klimkowski

Applying the old pulsator technology we were able to extinguish fires in closed compartments using a setup made of a cylider, a pulsator unit and a some solid tubing running up to the Ela nozzle mounted under the ceiling. For people carriers, using similar setup, taking advantage of much higher thrust we are generating in the latest embodiement of the watermist technology this should be a piece of cake. Essentially you would have a pull handle activating the system as if it was an old-style shower. Accidental activation would cause no material damage at all and would be ready to be reactivated w/o any delay. Problem is you would have to convince one company located inthe Wolverhampton area to suply you with parts cerified in the UK.   

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