The Nautical Institute provides lessons learned from an incident involving a corroded extinguisher, whose malfunction proved fatal.
A handheld (cartridge-type) dry chemical powder fire extinguisher was condemned during an annual third-party inspection due to corrosion issues. It was subsequently discharged, ostensibly for demonstration purposes.
When the internal carbon dioxide cartridge was activated to pressurise the fire extinguisher, the unit ruptured at the base.
The person activating the extinguisher was struck in the head by pieces of flying metal which proved to be fatal.
- Condemned material should be discarded, not used for demonstration purposes.
- Cartridge-type fire extinguishers that utilise a cartridge to charge the main fire extinguisher cylinder shall be handled with care. The fire extinguisher should be placed on the deck at arm’s length from the body. Point the top of the extinguisher away from the body while holding the handle and hose in one hand. Trigger the carbon dioxide charging cylinder with the other hand. Do not energise these types of fire extinguishers near the body
- Consider using stored pressure type fire extinguishers as opposed to the cartridge type.
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