Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 18:02:51 -0400
Reply-To: Andrew Gross <gross.drew**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Andrew Gross <gross.drew**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Extinguishers
Comments: To: List Moderator
In-Reply-To: <E575E7AF-25FB-4FF9-B99E-22B9E00B5C33**At_Symbol_Here**>

I can not agree more.  I wrote almost an identical email, but I
decided to wait 24 hours to let my anger at the suggestion die down to
make sure I wasn't coming on strong.  Here is what I wrote yesterday:

I have to strongly disagree with your live burn training.  As a
firefighter, I am trained to recognize and understand the difference
between a Class A through D fire.  What you are describing would be a
Class A fire, which for cost reasons, would most likely be put out
with a Class A extinguisher/Water Can.  The students would know how to
put out a class A combustible fire sure, but that is the furthest
thing from a threat in a laboratory.

In a lab you have to worry about the class B (oil based) and class D
(misc/exotic) fires.  Even if the student is educated in which
extinguisher to grab, attacking a Class B or D fire in the same tactic
that you would attack a class A fire would most definitely be
catastrophic, only to encourage the spread of the involved material.

What students need to be taught is fire prevention and the basics and
have them constantly reinforced.  First, never panic, stop drop and
roll in fire, know your exits and stay low during evacuation as well
as use of a fire blanket.  We don't need heros in the laboratory, we
need prudent, safe workers.  Leave the hero game to trained
professionals or someone will get hurt.

Perhaps the FD removed the cans for a reason.  A class A extinguisher
has no place in a lab and you are better off with nothing.  You need a
combination of A/B/C and B/C cans as well as the proper D can for
whatever is in the lab (ie, purple K for phosphorus)

To the contrary, I like the "don't panic" training you laid out.  If
you would like more consultation on that feel free to ask.

Sorry to knock your idea in public, but setting a garbage can on fire
and calling it training is just asking for a funeral when a chem fire
erupts and some dope thinks its the same attack.


On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 10:31 AM, List Moderator wrote:
> From: =A0 rj**At_Symbol_Here**
> Subject: =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0RE: [DCHAS-L] Extinguishers
> Date: =A0 August 12, 2009 10:03:56 AM EDT
> There are a lot of different regulations that we all have to abide by,
> and they can be very confusing as to which ones to follow. Being a
> firefighter, I can tell you that Debbie is correct when it comes to Fire
> Code. =A0Your local/state fire marshal's office decides the regulations,
> but that does not mean if you have fire extinguishers present to ignore
> OSHA regulations.
>> From a firefighter's standpoint, when it comes to fires in a lab, we
> never like to see anyone try to extinguish a fire. The reasoning for
> this is, the student/employee does not have on the correct PPE on to try
> to fight a fire. Working with chemicals we know that a fire can get out
> of control very quickly, and we don't want anyone getting caught in a
> situation like that without firefighter experience, proper training, or
> correct PPE.
> After that being said fire extinguishers still belong in the lab. The
> main propose of a fire extinguisher is for defensive use. Meaning, if
> there was a fire that blocked the exits of a room, a fire extinguisher
> should be available to use to assure the safe exit of everyone from the
> room/building. =A0So, I completely disagree with the removal of the fire
> extinguishers from the facility, your lab needs to have training at
> least once a year, and ask the fire department for help with the
> training. Fire extinguishers are a life safety tool and they should be
> present!
> You should also check with your local fire department to see if the
> community has adopted National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
> standards. If they have adopted them then you would want to get NFPA 10
> Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.
> Best regards,
> R.J. Wolcik
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