Common Aircraft Fire Extinguishers

The breakout of a fire within an aircraft can be a traumatic experience for anyone on board, also posing major safety risks. Depending on the aircraft's position, whether grounded or in flight, the only viable options in such circumstances include eliminating the source of the fire, fighting the fire directly, or getting on the ground and escaping the vehicle as soon as possible. As the ignition of a fire can occur anywhere within an aircraft, it is crucial that all vehicles come equipped with at least one, or multiple, fire extinguishers. Though aircraft vary in size, space is still limited and any breakout fire would need to be controlled as soon as possible to reduce damages to the vehicle and the potential likelihood of a fatal disaster. In flight, To mitigate the chance of a fire spreading throughout an aircraft, immediate intervention is crucial. By following in-flight guidelines for fire safety during the process of combating such situations, a fire extinguisher is a necessary component in all aircraft never to be overlooked.

Easily identifiable by their signature red exterior in multiple locations within an aircraft, portable fire extinguishers come in a variety of models, liquids, and chemical variants. Typically categorized by fire class and intended use, extinguishers can be made up of dry chemicals, foams, water types, halons, condensed aerosols, or a variety of combined types. Of the aforementioned types of extinguishers, dry chemical, foam & halon, and halotron are ones most commonly used today.

While dry chemical extinguishers are popular for their inexpensive price, they are not suitable for confined spaces such as within an aircraft. Despite being reliable for their fire mitigation properties, chemical agents like foam can produce substances that can stick to all surfaces. Inevitably impacting visibility, this substance can block the transparency of windows and necessary instruments. As dry chemical agents are also corrosive, Halon 1211 and Halotron 1 are recommended for aircraft use. Despite being discontinued in 1994, with the assistance of gas recycling programs, Halon remains the primary substance recommended for fire mitigation aboard aircraft. Unfortunately, the chemicals that comprise this solution detrimentally impact the ozone layer. However, Halotron 1 extinguishers in particular are much safer for the environment, but require twice as much of the extinguishing solution needed to put out a fire as compared to Halon 1211.

No matter the extinguisher agent you decide on, most modern fire extinguishers comprise the same parts which are all in need of regular maintenance. To operate functionally, extinguishers come assembled with the following common components: a hand-held pressurized tank containing the appropriate agent & propellant, a pressure gauge, fire extinguisher washers, a fire extinguisher tab, valves, and a hose. To ensure these devices remain in operating condition, it is imperative to ensure the pressure gauge remains charged and that the entire unit is maintained every six years. Additionally, after every six-year maintenance, hydrostatic testing is required every twelve years. Disposable fire extinguishers, on the other hand, require monthly inspection, or as required by manufacturer recommendation.

Regardless of your choice in fire extinguishers, all units require consistent upkeep to remain functioning in proper condition. If you are looking to replace aging fire extinguishers or their parts, look no further than NSN Stocks. We are your trusted source for various fire extinguisher types, their respective agents, and components. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


September 21, 2022

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