The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a Safety Alert about the malfunctioning of hand-held portable fire extinguishers due to prior servicing using components that were not compatible with the original equipment.
The problem was discovered as a result of a vessel fire in Sector Hampton Roads. A crewmember tried to use a 15-pound CO2 extinguisher, which didn’t discharge properly because the flow was blocked. A firefighting equipment service center later examined the unit and discovered a problem with the way the hose and discharge horn had been replaced at an earlier servicing. A bottoming-out had occurred involving the diffuser. Threads in the connection did not match up.
The Coast Guard urges vessel operators and servicing centers to ensure that any fire extinguisher replacement components are those specified by the original equipment manufacturer. If the proper replacement parts are not available to service the extinguisher, the whole unit should be replaced.