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    The Need for Wheeled Fire Extinguishers for Indoor Locations

    By Mark Conroy

    Fire extinguishers are intended to be transported and used at a fire scene by one person. Extinguisher manufacturers add carriages and wheels to very large dry chemical extinguishers so they can be transported by one person. Understanding the special features of wheeled extinguishers and high hazards will enable you to provide the best products to your customers for these hazard areas.

    Hazards Protected by Wheeled Extinguishers
    Manufacturing, package handling, and storage warehouses are indoor locations where large quantities of Class A combustible materials are present. A fire with a heavy fire load can spread rapidly and become an intense fire scene. Also, a fire in an area where significant quantities of flammable liquids are located presents a high rate of heat release.

    For both of these types of fires, rapid knock-down and early control of the fire area is paramount. One person with a wheeled extinguisher is often more effective than two or more people with smaller hand-portable extinguishers. That’s due mainly to the high-flow rate and a continuous long duration from the large capacity wheeled extinguisher.

    Wheeled Extinguisher Advantages Compared to Hand-Held Extinguishers

    Feature Advantage
    Higher Flow Rate Quicker knock-down and control of large fire areas and intense fires
    Longer Stream Range A fire with intense heat release can be fought from safe distance
    Larger Capacity Longer sustained discharge and more agent available for re-flash

    Designated Locations and Maneuverability
    Painted lines or adhesive tape markings on the floor designate the locations where wheeled extinguishers are strategically placed. Careful consideration must be given for the mobility of the unit and the need to maneuver it out of position and to a fire scene. Doorways, hallways, and flooring need to be able to accommodate movement and free turning.

    Extinguisher Use
    Since wheeled extinguishers are expected to be used on large fires, potential operators should receive special instructions and have actually used the equipment in live fire training.

    Wherever a high hazard area is present, consideration should be given to the installation of wheeled extinguishers. Your customers will appreciate the most appropriate fire protection afforded by wheeled extinguishers designed for the most challenging of fire hazards.

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    Mark Conroy is an engineer in our Boston, MA office and a member of the NFPA 10 Technical Committee © 2017, Brooks Equipment® Company, LLC.

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above Tech Series article are the author’s only and provide limited information. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Brooks Equipment® Company, LLC expressly disclaims any warranty with respect to the information and any liability for errors or omissions. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.