How is the Industry Addressing the Tier 4 Engine (regeneration cycle)
All State Fire recommends installing a dual agent system that is designed to provide fast knock down of the fire and cool the surface area to prevent re-flash. Temperatures can get well above (900 to 1200 degrees) the flash point of the flammable fluids present in the engine area. It is generally believed that 50% to 2/3 of heavy vehicle fires are caused by hydraulics or other flammable fluids hitting hot surfaces.
We Hit the Red Button and Nothing Happened
This could be a number of things, many of which a proper pre-shift inspection could identify ahead of time. Certain components of your system are integral to its operation. If missing or damaged the system will not operate. Another cause is that your operator did not apply enough pressure to the red strike button on the manual actuator. The brass burst disc in the cartridge is just under the thickness of a dime. The pin in the actuator needs to penetrate this disc for it to release the nitrogen to operate the system. It is important that you call your service company immediately to investigate when this happens to gain clarity and possibly prevent a future occurrence.
I need to work on my vehicle. What should I do to the system?
If you have a cartridge operated type fire suppression system (Ansul or AFEX – call if you need more info) you need to unscrew the cartridge from the cab actuator then disconnect the electrical from the panel. Because the system will not operate without the cab or ground level cartridge it is important you remove them first before you disconnect the panel. This is a good practice. When your mechanic is done with the repairs he or she should reconnect the system. First reconnect the electrical to the cab panel and look for trouble lights. If you have a green light on the panel then reinstall the cartridge. This will prevent an accidental discharge of the system and/or damage to the panel.
I have an Amerex system. Is the disconnection procedure the same?
No. The procedure is very different. He or she needs to remove the actuation wire from the bottle and hook it to the tester while working on the machine. Once they are done with the repairs they need to look at the panel for a green light. If all is good then they can reconnect the actuation wire.
How Often Should I Inspect My System
Two answers -
Your operators should be doing a pre-shift inspection daily to ensure the components of the system are still in place and are in good condition. The reality is that your service company is only on site 2 to 4 times a year. If you operate your equipment 52 weeks a year for 5 days each your equipment will run for 260 days. Your operators are the eyes and ears in the field to help determine if the system needs attention. During the normal course of business the equipment is subjected to many events that may damage the system, it gets power washed, mechanics move the system components to work in the engine area, or just the fact you operate in a very tough environment. Implementing a pre-shift inspection policy and enforcing is a solid course of action to reduce exposure and repair cost.
Your service company should be on site twice a year to do a full inspection of all the parts and components of the system. In some environments we have recommended quarterly and monthly inspections. The inspection procedure is out lined in the manufactures manual and available for your review. Depending on the conditions and how many technicians we have on site a typical inspection could last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. The inspection consist of a complete tear down of the system components to ensure the system is in working order.
What is the difference between the cartridge operated and stored pressure extinguishers?
Cartridge operated extinguishers are as rough and tough as our industry. Used and maintained properly there is not a better solution, however, you must provide quality maintenance and proper training for your employees. The maintenance and operating procedures are more involved than an stored pressure unit.
Amerex has a solution for our environmental challenges in a stored pressure model. They market a High Performance and a Compliance model that can hold up to the environment. The total cost of ownership is less as it is inspected annually like a typical stored pressure. The cost of the unit is slightly less than a cart op unit and the employee training is in line with the existing training.
We recommend you train your staff at least annually regarding the use of the unit and how to do a pre-shift inspection. Your fire extinguisher is your first line of defense in a fire situation. Educating your staff will help you comply with a verity of regulations.