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Thread: Fire extinguisher recommendation

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    North Orange County, Southern California
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    Fire extinguisher recommendation

    I would like to hear your fire extinguisher recommendations for use in a home darkroom.
    I process film and silver gelatin prints. Looking to process platinum & palladium images sometime in the future.

    Is the one that Costco sells acceptable? It is a general purpose fire extinguisher.

    Thanks

    Gary
    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." - H. Jackson Brown

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    Maine
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    I don't have one in my darkroom; they are normal abc ones elsewhere in the house.

    If I felt like I needed one in the darkroom, it would probably be a clean agent type...
    The extra $150-200 for it would be gold compared to the cleanup mess a normal one makes. Co2, halotron, h3r, halon, etc..

  3. #3

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    Jun 2019
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    Elk Grove, CA
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    So, might be a dumb question... I didn't think there was anything reactive enough to necessitate the presence of a fire extinguisher in your garden-variety darkroom. Is this naive thinking on my part?

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    I have at least 3 in my combined darkroom/shop, ordinary ABC type. Common sense. They're cheap enough. But they're also required by the Fire Dept, who has the right of inspection due to my business license.

  5. #5

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    Jun 2019
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    Elk Grove, CA
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I have at least 3 in my combined darkroom/shop, ordinary ABC type. Common sense. They're cheap enough. But they're also required by the Fire Dept, who has the right of inspection due to my business license.
    Yes, from a business standpoint, I can certainly understand the need; especially in compliance with local fire codes. But I, like many others here, have just a home darkroom setup. So I'm wondering if there is something I'm overlooking in my darkroom, (aside from the obvious electrical devices), that may justify the need for a fire extinguisher?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    San Joaquin Valley, California
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    I'd avoid using Halon in closed spaces like in a darkroom.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    Strong oxidants like potassium permanganate or sodium hydroxide, found in numerous darkrooms, can generate intense heat and start fires. Alcohol, acetone, and especially ether combust easily. Wiring can corrode in humid conditions, especially aluminum wire, and start fires. Many multi-outlet strip devices are substandard. Most non-industrial lithium batteries and chargers are a distinct risk. Drymount presses, hot enlarger heads too close to a wall or ceiling, etc.

  8. #8

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    Dec 2001
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    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Strong oxidants like potassium permanganate or sodium hydroxide, found in numerous darkrooms, can generate intense heat and start fires. Alcohol, acetone, and especially ether combust easily. Wiring can corrode in humid conditions, especially aluminum wire, and start fires. Many multi-outlet strip devices are substandard. Most non-industrial lithium batteries and chargers are a distinct risk. Drymount presses, hot enlarger heads too close to a wall or ceiling, etc.
    Ansel Adams' dark room in Yosemite burned down IIRC. I don't recollect the cause of the fire, but certainly the possibility should be a concern.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Sep 2008
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    SF Bay area, CA
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    14,146

    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    Art space fires are a plague around here. They tend to get huge fast. You have to be aware of what your neighbors are doing too, just like with forest fires. Right now an infamous local court case is still going on, where over 30 people died in a converted warehouse art venue fire. Artistes can be extremely careless about safety issues.

  10. #10
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    13,686

    Re: Fire extinguisher recommendation

    CALL 911 FIRST!

    Yell for help.

    Very few people have a fire extinguisher. Get at least 2 "First Alert Heavy Duty Fire Extinguisher" Very good deal. Try one outside on a fire. Then get it refilled. Right away.

    In a darkroom most of us have an easily reached water hose. Not much help...

    I always have 3 plastic 1/2 gallon beakers filled with fresh water in the sink. I once poured 2 gallons of water over my head, to decontaminate, but that topic is now banned.

    Not for fire, but as eyewash, or skin wash or...

    Any fire extinguisher should be just outside the darkroom at the door, ready to grab use and back away. Plan escape routes. Know when to give up.

    I mount my electrical plugs and switches chest high on the walls. None within reach of the sink.

    Install a GFCI Breaker at the house panel for the entire DR. Don't use another in the room. Test it often.

    I never need to plug or unplug anything in my darkroom while using it.

    Wear sturdy work shoes with good wet traction.

    Practice anything done in 100% dark several times in light. Mark stations and handholds with luminus darkroom tape. Very helpful.

    I am sure I forgot something. I have plenty of fire experience. Trained by pros on large fires every year for a long time.

    2 old friends burned in their Duluth home as the smoke knocked them out first.

    I hate fire, but have walked in it.
    sin eater

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