Engine Bay Fire Suppression

If you get a chance to see Mac the Fire Guy do his presentation on RV Fire Safety, do it! He’s a great presenter, he knows his stuff and he is very entertaining.

Be prepared!
To be scared!

He’s also a great salesman – you will buy something from him.

We attended the Escapee RV Boot Camp back in September 2012 in Sedalia, MO. At the time, we planned to be full-time in our bus soon. RV Boot Camp is a 3 day seminar for soon-to-be or wannabe fulltime RV’ers. Some folks also attend as a refresher even if they’ve been on the road for years! There are great presentations on nearly every RV subject. One of the best was Mac’s ‘show’ which included a hands-on demonstration of the proper use of fire extinguishers, practice escapes and real FIRE!

One of the things we learned was that engine fires are a common cause of TRM (Total RV Meltdown). This is especially true in the Class A diesel pusher. Often, the RV passengers don’t know there’s a fire until someone in a passing vehicle starts honking and pointing!

So, I bought an automatic fire suppression system for my engine bay. I also bought a few fire extinguishers for the coach and retired those cheap ABC units we bought at Wal-Mart. See, I told you he was a good salesman.

Just btw, we also learned that many of those extinguishers that are touted as good for all types of fires are filled with a corrosive chemical that ruins the interior of your coach. So, even if you’re successful at fighting an RV fire, if you used one of those ABC types, you’ve just sprayed a highly corrosive chemical all over parts of your bus.

There is another type of extinguisher that uses a chemical that is safe to use and very effective. It works by chemically binding with the carbon atoms rendering the combustible non-flammable. I posted the url to Mac’s site above where you can read all about this new foam.  (this not-so-subtle plug  for Mac is totally unsolicited and I do not benefit in any way)

Mac demonstrates this in his seminars by standing in a pan filled with diesel and gasoline (that he has just extinguished with this “New Foam”) and tries to re-ignite the fuel with a safety flare! It doesn’t!  Later, he sprays the stuff all over his face to show how safe and non-toxic it is. He called it New Foam, but I’m sure there is a more scientific term. If you know about these feel free to comment on the blog! I’m certainly no expert.

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Here’s a shot of the kit: a tank of fire suppressant, two heat sensing spray nozzles, some stainless hose and fittings and a mounting clamp for the tank. The small extinguisher on the left will go in back of the LP/AC refrigerator – a lot of fires start there too!

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Looking around the engine bay, I thought this spot just above and to the rear of the passenger side access door would be a good place for the tank.

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So that’s where I put it!

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Mac recommends spreading the two spray heads as widely as possible to cover as much of the engine bay as possible. So I mounted one towards the front of the bay on the passenger side. It’s nearly unobstructed as a totally unobstructed spot was not to be had. The stainless hoses are plenty long, so I had to curl one up and add some supports.

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I placed the other nozzle towards the rear of the bay on the driver side, so I had some coverage over the transmission and the exhaust and turbo side of the engine. The material and workmanship is top-notch on these parts. I’m confident they can handle the harsh environment.

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This is the best shot I could get of the final installation. You can see the hose for the driver side spray head snaking across the rear bulkhead. The tank can easily be inspected and the gauge keeps me posted on the tank pressure.

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Up in the house, I moved the two ABC type extinguishers out to storage bays (use those on other peoples bus) and replaced them with the New Foam type. We have 3 of these small ones – 2 in the bedroom and 1 in the kitchen. I found these bottle holders for bicycles that are the perfect size!

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I put a large new foam type extinguisher just inside the entry door aside the passenger perch.

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2 comments on “Engine Bay Fire Suppression

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