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Dry Powder Type Portable Fire Extinguishers

Fire protection on ships is provided by detection and fire-fighting equipment together with structural features which are intended to contain an outbreak of fire and the employment when required of non-combustible materials to prevent its spread.

There are four principal types of portable extinguisher usually found on board ship. These are the soda-acid, foam, dry powder and carbon dioxide extinguishers. Working principle of a dry powder type portable extinguisher explained below.

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Dry powder extinguishers
The outer container contains sodium bicarbonate powder. A capsule of carbon dioxide gas is located beneath a plunger mechanism in the central cap (Figure ). On depressing the plunger the carbon dioxide gas forces the powder up a discharge tube and out of the discharge nozzle.

The dry powder extinguisher can be used on all classes of fire but it has no cooling effect. It is usually located near electrical equipment in the machinery space and elsewhere on the ship.

Dry powder portable fire extinguisher
Fig: Dry powder portable fire extinguisher

Maintenance and testing

All portable extinguishers are pressure vessels and must therefore be regularly checked.

The dry powder extinguisher is tested to 35 bar once every four years. Most extinguishers should be tested by discharge over a period of one to five years, depending on the extinguisher type,

Where practicable the operating mechanisms of portable extinguishers should be examined every three months. Any plunger should be checked for free movement, vent holes should be clear and cap threads lightly greased. Most extinguishers with screw-on caps have a number of holes in the threaded region. These are provided to release pressure before the cap is taken off: they should be checked to be clear.

The type, number and locations of portable and semi-portable extinguishers are supplied to cargo vessels according to SOLAS, Flag and Classification requirements. All fire fighting equipment must be in a constant state of readiness and be regularly and properly maintained. Any valves in these systems are to be operated and proved free every month.

Any defects with the equipment are to be reported to the Company immediately and rectified on an urgent basis. It is essential that when fire-fighting equipment is landed ashore for service or maintenance, sufficient quantities remain onboard to cope with an emergency situation. If required, equipment may be hired as a temporary replacement for the ship’s own equipment.

Types of portable fire extinguisher

There are four principal types of portable extinguisher usually found on board ship. These are the soda-acid, foam, dry powder and carbon dioxide extinguishers. Details as below :
  1. Soda acid portable fire extinguisher

  2. Foam type portable fire extinguisher

  3. Dry powder fire extinguishers

  4. CO2 portable fire extinguisher

Related fire and safety topics

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