2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby walterclark » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:41 pm

Current technical rule:

4.B. Fire Extinguisher
1. 2.5-lb minimum A-B-C type or 1.25-lb Halon or approved substitute; must be fully charged; must have a gauge.
2. Shall be securely mounted with catch to side or rear. No plastic straps, catches, or brackets. Must not be mounted behind the driver and should be mounted as low and as far forward as possible. Should be mounted within reach of the driver.
3. Onboard fire system may be used, and is required in any car with a nitrous system. Must be SCCA approved. A hand held bottle is also required.

Discussion:

1. At Philo a new competitor was certain that a hand-held extinguisher was not required if an on-board system was installed. I believe it has been our intent for some time to require competitors to carry the capability to quickly extinguish or contain a fire external to the vehicle that may be or create a brush or grass fire in addition to vehicle damage. I think that is one of the (if not the primary) reasons the A part of the A-B-C extinguisher is specified in B.1. An on-board system will not meed this need. We need to clarify in 4.B.1. that in addition to the A-B-C rating and size the minimum extinguisher requirement is specifically a handheld.

2. Don had proposed last year or the year before, and I believe it was accepted, that extinguishers larger than 2.5 pounds, be mounted with no fewer than 2 straps. This requirement is not in this set of rules regarding extinguisher requirements.

3. In 4.B.2, what exactly does "catch to side or rear" mean? Is the "catch" the latching mechanism on the restraining strap(s)? I assume the first somehow relates to the orientation of the extinguisher and mount as seen in the car as opposed to the catch as it relates to the bracket. If so I think we have a number of extinguishers on cars right now that do not meet this. For example there are extinguishers in cars today that are mounted to the floor and where the catch is opposite the mounting bracket or UP, not the side or rear. I personally dont feel this last orientation (Up) presents any more risk to the bottle coming out than if the bottle were mounted such that the "catch" is on the side or rear.


Proposal (except for discussion 3. above which probably needs some work too):

Reword section 4.b as follows:

1. Portable or hand-held 2.5-lb minimum A-B-C type or 1.25-lb Halon or approved substitute; must be fully charged; must have a gauge.
2. Shall be securely mounted with catch to side or rear. No plastic straps, catches, or brackets. Extinguishers over 2.5 pound rating must be mounted with a minimum of 2 straps. Must not be mounted behind the driver and should be mounted as low and as far forward as possible. Should be mounted
within reach of the driver.
3. Onboard fire system may be used, and is required in any car with a nitrous system. Must be SCCA approved. A hand held bottle meeting 4.B.1 and 4.B.2 is also required.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby walterclark » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:51 pm

I was on the phone with Don T last night and spoke of this with him. His recollection on the 2 strap ting was as follows:

He made the 2 strap proposal 2 years ago and it was decided that it would not be written into the rules but left up to tech judgement whether an extinguisher needed a second strap. The reasoning was that DOT approved mounts with one strap shouldnt require a second. After doing some online searching I suspect this is a red herring.

I cannot find anything online that defines a DOT approved mounting or even that there are specific mounting requirements for DOT extinguishers other than they be secure.

Does anyone have a definitive reference pertaining to what constitutes a DOT approval for fire extinguishers and mountings? PErhaps an extinguisher with something more specific on the label than "DOT Approved"?

These: http://www.setonresourcecenter.com/transportation/49CFR/172_101tb.pdf and http://www.setonresourcecenter.com/49CFR/Docs/wcd00009/wcd009ae.asp which cover allowed content, filling and overpressure requirements, but not anything related to mounting.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby Mopar 151 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:33 pm

When I looked for the right bracket, I always found it by "Coast Guard Approved"
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby walterclark » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:22 pm

A number of extinguishers list themselves as USCG approved if used with a specific bracket. The USCG approved bracket is usually better than the garden variety intended for home or business bracket, but I believe it fall short of the needs of a race car for securing the extinguisher. So I think we cant simply accept a USCG bracket as being adequate for racing cars because the approval is for shipboard use, which probably doesnt include high G deceleration requirements. I have been led to believe that DOT approval of a fire extinguisher extended to the mounting and that might include requirements for resisting coming out of the holder under motor vehicle impact scenarios. I have not been able to find anything of the sort. If no one else can come up with something definitive and appropriate regarding DOT requirements for holders I will assume none exists and would suggest we move forward with better specifying holder requirements.

From rally scrutineering experience, checking up on cars that were involved in large impacts, I have found that about half the 2.5 pound charge USCG approved extinguishers in rally cars had come out of the holders during heavy impacts that include hard rollovers, tree and rock strikes and very hard landings.

From a practical standpoint I found the Kidde 4 pound extinguisher I use was sold with a USCG bracket and the bracket was also available inexpensively online from a farm supply in North Carolina. I purchased a couple extras brackets from them (I had 2-4 pound Kidde extinguishers in the rally car when I rallied). I removed the strap from each of the extra brackets and added them to the identical brackets that came with my extinguishers. I then had 2 straps for each extinguisher which I believe is needed due to the extra weight of them, the risk of them coming free due to a sudden deceleration of the car and is in keeping with Don's proposal from a couple years ago. I removed one of the extinguishers now that I only hilllcimb the car to save weight.
Last edited by walterclark on Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby sachilles » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:23 am

What is Rally America's and/or Nasa's requirement for fire ext?

Relative to seeing the bottles come out of the holders on impact, would you say it's from the strap breaking, or from the strap becoming unlatched?
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby walterclark » Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:23 pm

sachilles wrote:What is Rally America's and/or Nasa's requirement for fire ext?

Relative to seeing the bottles come out of the holders on impact, would you say it's from the strap breaking, or from the strap becoming unlatched?


I havent seen a strap break. It is always that the buckle has unlatched. In the cases where I could check closely, the latch/release mechanism was usually distorted and would no longer secure the extinguisher, so that was probably the point of failure.

RA rule: :The fire extinguisher(s) shall be securely mounted in the cockpit. All mounting brackets shall be metal with a quick-type release.
Brackets shall be those designated by the manufacturer for 'vehicular' use."

NASA RS: "During installation, consideration must be given to quick release and security of attachment."

NASA Pro-Racing: "All cars without a fire system should have at least a fire extinguisher securely mounted inside within driver’s reach while normally seated, belts fastened and steering wheel in place. The bracket should be metal and of the quick release type. The mounting hardware should be nuts and bolt and not just sheet metal screws."

SCCA Club Racing: “The fire extinguisher shall be securely mounted in the cockpit. All mounting brackets shall be metal and of the quick-release type.”

As you can see these rules tend to have a subjective element, leaving it to the whim of the scrutineer as to whether it is suitable or not.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby sciroccohp » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:13 pm

do you have an extinguisher and mount in mind that would work? maybe the association buys a bunch and sells them at cost so when you show up there is no doubt you have the right mount? or do we have something made that will work and sell it. just a thought.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby sciroccohp » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:37 pm

http://www.pitstopusa.com/detail.aspx?ID=64730
http://www.racereadyproducts.com/fire-s ... her-mount/
these are pretty cool if you mount them vertical they should be secure.
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby Mopar 151 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:32 am

Simple solution @ home cheapo - $5.97
Image
It's a Kidde 420118, for refrence purposes 8-)
And this little darlin', a Kidde FA110, is a 1A10BC rated, meets the DOT pressure vessel rating, and retails for the princely sum of $16.97 :ugeek: Image
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Re: 2010 - Fire extinguisher rule clarification

Postby walterclark » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:14 am

The mounts from Pit Stop and Race Ready Products are outstanding in my opinion. Excellent choice, and well beyond the minimum security I am suggesting even for larger extinguishers. Note these kits are both intended for 2.5 pound net bottles. With larger bands the Race Ready model should work with 5 pound net bottles as well. I am not sure the Pit Stop mount would be a good choice for the larger bottle because of the custom radius of the bottle mounted half and the cast aluminum mounting ears of the vehicle mounted half.

I think the Kidde extinguisher and bracket John referenced are a good economical choice and they would be exempt from the 2 strap requirement I suggested at the top of this thread. But everyone should be aware that this combo or ones nearly identical to it are like the ones I see that have come out of their holders on crashed rally cars. Also, some racing body rules used to require that the head (valve, levers, etc) be made of metal and this one is nylon - RA and NASA RS no longer have this requirement. Having seen what I have regarding these, I would buy a second bracket and move the strap from it to near the bottom of the bracket to be installed in the car. This is exactly what I did with the 4 lb net Kidde extinguisher (model PRO4-TCM - no longer produced) I carry in the GTI. I havent hit anything extremely hard with it configured as I described, but in 2007 I did experience an impact with a rock that crushed the LF wheel, driving the suspension into the firewall and subsequently the car rolled with several tree impacts on the sides roof and hood before it stopped. The extinguisher didnt move and the clasps were undistorted.

Image

Hmmm. I thought I saw a posting by Steve or Nick saying there was a way to re-size images right here rather than having to re-size the source but I cant seem to find it.
Last edited by walterclark on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
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