Official Test of Fire Extinguishers

Official Test of Fire Extinguishers

The British Fire Prevention Committee devoted considerable time last year to an exhaustive investigation into the reliability of existing portable chemical fire extinguishers, in which enquiry they had the co-operation of a number of Government departments, corporations and institutions, who lent the committee extinguishers which had been in their possession for periods varying from a few months to as long as 35 years. The reports on these investigations have been issued by the British Fire Prevention Committee as Red Books Nos. 185 and 186, of which the latter may be deemed the more important, and contains a comparative table as to the results of tests with about 100 appliances in all. It is interesting to observe that the great majority of the appliances under test were of British make, and that all existent types of extinguishers were under investigation. Regarding the strength of the appliances and their aptitude to burst which has caused fatalities, it is interesting to observe that out of a series of 57 extinguishers tested hydraulically, 10 failed at under 300 pounds pressure, and 8 failed to withstand the committee’s official 350 pounds pressure test, whilst 33 passed the last named test. Several already burst at 200 pounds. Again, on looking through the table, it will be found that the working pressure generated by one of the extinguishers when the nozzle was closed was 310 pounds, and in another case it was 340 pounds, which plainly shows the wisdom of the committee insisting on a margin of safety for the future. The Fire Prevention Committee’s reports deal with many aspects of the extinguisher question, and Memorandum III, signed on behalf of the Extinguisher Research Subcommittee by Mr. D. W. Wood, is a particularly valuable contribution. The principal series of tests were conducted by a sub-committee comprising two district surveyors, seven fire brigade officers, two insurance surveyors, two insurance experts, and a chemist, under the guidance of the executive and representatives of the committee’s council.

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