View Full Version : what type of fire system

12-10-2004, 10:26 PM
What kinds of fire systems are people using/have experience with. I've heard all the warnings about halon which makes me wonder why it is the most common extinguishing agent in racing.

Anyone out there have experience w/ Firecharger or CEA-614? Or any others?


12-11-2004, 09:32 AM
We are currently using a 2.5lb Purple K handheld. However, most race teams seem to be using one form of Halon or another as well as having the option to do AFFF. As to the safety of Halon-it is true that you should not inhale it. I wonder about that as it is a standard system for deep mining machinery. NASCAR mandates it and I have no reason to think it is less safe considering the fires we see. The biggest problem is that first responders must be trained to help a driver with proper breathing after the incident.

There are only 2 compaines that I am aware of that offer the Halon system. One is Firebottle from Indiana. The other is sold now by Summit and is probably just as good.

Grandpa's toys-modded suspensions and a few other tweaks
'89 CRX Si-SCCA ITA #99
'99 Prelude=a sweet song
'03 Dodge Dakota Club Cab V8-Patriot Blue gonna tow

12-11-2004, 05:41 PM
Halon is nothing like as dangerous as some people seem to think. In gaseous form, it displaces breathable air - oxygen - so you can suffocate if left in an enclosed space full of it but the typical race car environment poses none of that risk.

It's also not true that Halon is illegal, only that it is no longer being manufactured. There are TONS of recaptured Halon 1211 and 1301 available in the US.

I am pretty damned green but have faith in Halon but am not willing to compromise what I believe to the be the best firefighting agent in the world.


12-12-2004, 09:51 PM
I have heard from multiple sources that it promotes heart attacks. When you read the lititure at sites that sell it, they will list the concentrations above which you will be harmed by it. Having a nozzle aimed at my face in the car to stop the fire seems like a good way to get a large dose.

If you read the instructions on it, they say to take a deep breath before pulling the pin, then get the hell out. Sorry, but if I am pulling that pin, its because I can't get out fast enough & I probably don't have time to consider a deep breath & hold it.

That's why I am trying to research other alternatives.

Al Seim
12-12-2004, 11:37 PM
I did quite a bit of research on the Net re this topic 6 months ago, and wound up buying a Halon 1301 system. It's pretty innocuous as is, less so when it hits a fire - but much preferable to sitting in said fire!

Do a Google search on "Halon 1211 1301 toxicity" - what you'll find mostly is lamentations that there is nothing safer to eventually replace it! Halon 1301 one of the few things that you can breathe (for a few minutes)in concentrations that will put out a fire. And very effective at putting out fires too, a good combination.

Good Luck!

Al Seim
www.actdigital.com (http://www.actdigital.com)
Action Digital Race Data Systems

12-12-2004, 11:38 PM
Not to be a smart guy (well, maybe a little), but Racing in general can be shown to cause heart attacks as well...

My Halon nozzle is directed toward my feet and the lower portion of the cockpit. I've pointed it there for the same reason you aim for the base of the flame: to extinguish the fire at its root. There's not much to burn up top and/or near my head.

Planet 6 Racing
bill (at) planet6racing (dot) com

12-12-2004, 11:41 PM
Note that 1301 is intended for "flood" use, like in computer rooms, where they fill the space with gas. 1211 comes out as a liquid and can be pointed directly where you want it to go, with less likelihood of blowing away.

Either way, I'd rather get a snootful of Halon than of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam! http://Forum.ImprovedTouring.com/it/smile.gif


12-13-2004, 01:50 PM
Nothing puts out a fire quite like Halon. That's why NASCAR and others mandate it's use. According to the manufacturers, DuPont, in a race car with the windows open, you will get plenty of fresh air so that breathing a little halon should not harm you. The manufacturer, Firebottle, told me that the amount of concentration in an open car, either open cockpit or with windows open, is not enough to harm you.

Howard Bennett
Racer Wholesale

12-13-2004, 03:06 PM
Yeah, it always blows my mind when I look into peoples' cars and see extinguisher nozzles pointed at their chests/helmets! They then get all upset when I point it out and suggest that it's less than wise!

"You know, hundreds of people spontaneously combust each year... It's just not widely reported." </Spinal Tap>

OK, so yeah, I try to point the 3 nozzles from my 11lb Phoenix Halon system (sold by OG Racing) at fuel/combustion sources rather than my hairy butt; one at the gas tank, one at the intake area (sure, the exhaust is hot, but there's very little over there to burn, the gas is on the other side by the intake) and one at my feet (closest tissue to any burn sources).

Vaughan Scott
Detroit Region #280052
'79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1
www.vaughanscott.com (http://www.vaughanscott.com)

"Well, it was actually a sort of... bizarre gardening accident... Police said it was best unsolved, really."

"...I mean, you can't exactly dust for vomit, now, can you?"


[This message has been edited by 924Guy (edited December 13, 2004).]

12-13-2004, 03:44 PM
"You know, hundreds of people spontaneously combust each year... It's just not widely reported."

It is...I subscribe to Weekly world News!

12-13-2004, 06:00 PM
SAE Paper #2004-01-3551

Title: Potential Driver Exposure to Halons and Alternative Agents From On-Board Fire Suppression Systems in Stock Cars

http://www.sae.org/servlets/productDetail?...CD=2004-01-3551 (http://www.sae.org/servlets/productDetail?PROD_TYP=PAPER&PROD_CD=2004-01-3551)

I did not read the paper nor see the presentation.

Gregg Baker, P.E.
Isaac, LLC

12-13-2004, 07:22 PM
The one thing you might rethink, Vaughn is that low outlet. Halon is a lot more dense than air so it pools and if you dump it in the footwell, it's pretty much going to just lay there.


12-14-2004, 02:01 PM
Where would you recommend, then? Point it at my nutz? Keep tha Boyz from overheating? http://Forum.ImprovedTouring.com/it/wink.gif

Seriously - where?

Vaughan Scott
Detroit Region #280052
'79 924 #77 ITB/GTS1

12-14-2004, 11:53 PM
Think frostbite there, dude. Or "dudes."

I think the best argument is to have the Halon point so that it hoses down the general area of the driver's upper body, assuming that it's going to go downward as it loses momentum.

1211 actually leaves the nozzle as a liquid, more or less, so it will go a little distance before it boils off to a gas.


12-15-2004, 02:06 PM
so something like positioning a nozzle on the halo of the cage, maybe in the driver's left forward corner, aimed at the driver's chest?

Greg Amy
12-15-2004, 02:24 PM
I've identified three major areas in my car that are susceptible to fire:

- In the engine compartment on the intake side of the engine, where the fuel lines, filter, and injectors are;
- Under the dashboard, where all the electrical wiring and components are; and
- In the aft part of the car where the fuel tank is.

I've got two nozzles on my 1211-based 11-pound system: one pointed across the top of intake manifold, injectors, and fuel lines, and another inside the cockpit mounted on the center exhaust tunnel pointing up under the center of the dashboard. My premise is not to point it at *me*, it's to point it at the most likely points of ignition and potential combustibles. I'd like to stop the fire at its source, just long enough for me to get out of the car.

If I had monkeyed with the fuel tank by installing a fuel cell I'd put another nozzle under there too. But I haven't so I didn't. I also haven't placed any high pressure fuel or oil lines in the cockpit, so there's no pressing need to accomodate spillage that way.

The only historical location that is still possible for fire in my car is the front of the engine where the rods occasionally peek through on an SR20DE engine. It's common for the oil to catch on fire on the exhaust manifold; it happened on my car when it was a Showroom Stocker and it happened to another SE-R driver at Summit this year. However, there's so much airflow up there behind the radiator that I sincerely doubt any kind of retardant would be effective; as long as the fire does not intrude past the firewall or into the cockpit from underneath I should be safe.

Key points: extinguish the fuel source and get out of the car.


01-22-2005, 12:46 AM
Meant to ask this last month... anyone making a fire system using Cold Fire???

-Scott Gallimore
-ITC #88 Pulsar