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does a fire extinguisher last a long time or not ? Answered

like does only last one skirt then you have to empty it 


Jack A Lopez

2 years ago

The amount of time it takes to empty a fire extinguisher, assuming the valve is opened full and stays open; i.e. the handle is held down and stays held down, will be some number of seconds.

I am guessing a few 10s of seconds, definitely less than a minute.

You can make it last longer by way of a technique called,

"short controlled bursts"

That is to say, only depress the handle for a brief amount of time, around 1s, or less, followed by long pauses while you admire the effect, or maybe while think of something else to point it at, or whatever.

I seem to recall that David Letterman, the talk show host, would sometimes use a fire extinguisher on guests that came on his show, and he used this technique of just blasting them with very short bursts, because, you know, the short bursts were effective, and also I think he did not want to waste the whole charge all at once because he needed to hold a lot of it in reserve, to continue to intimidate the guest, because, you know, at this point the guest would be really angry, and maybe not, uh, "cooled off" completely.

Anyway, this phrase "short controlled bursts", this is usually good advice for any kind of dispenser with a finite charge of the thing being dispensed, including but not limited to,

-o- Fire extinguishers


-o- Automatic rifles


-o- Gas pressurized condiments such as canned whipped cream or cheese


Also I thought it would be a good idea to ask Google(r) about "short controlled bursts", and it seems to think this is a quote from that movie, Aliens (1986).


Downunder35mJack A Lopez

Answer 2 years ago

You should use some every now and then to be surprised ;)
For example:
Small model like used in cars and boats - less then 5 seconds, often under 3 seconds.
Standard 10kg powder model - around 10 seconds depending on pressure level and temperature, the warmer the shorter the burst but with more power behind.
Standard 10kg CO2 model - up to 30s on a good day.
Foam models are a bit different - I had them last for as short as 10s and as long as one minute.

Using them corectly is what makes the difference.
As you pointed out models that allow short bursts instead of staying open are to be prefered.
With them you can often adjust the pressure level too but that should be avoided as it will cause the gas to escape without being able to get all the powder out.

Jack A LopezDownunder35m

Answer 2 years ago

Yeah, I really should, like live a little, pull the triggers on those fire extinguishers to see if they actually work.

From what you write, I guess 10 seconds of uh, total flow time (blow time?), is like an upper limit for a lot of them.

Downunder35mJack A Lopez

Answer 2 years ago

If you want to test and play around:
Get some discarded powder models of the old style that use a CO2 cartridge for the pressure - they are either extrenal or internal.
A lot of them end up on the scrap yard once they missed an inspection or get a bit old.
They have a build in pressure gauge and if that still gives you a green you can bounce them on the ground and shake then a few times to loosen the powder.
Most scrap yards give them away for free if you return them empty as it saves them the hassle of doing it.
Pure CO2 snow models are hard to find this way but you might be lucky - they are always good to chill your beer with dry ice in the summer ;)
And if you are lucky enough to find a water model that uses compressed air you have a great bazooka for the water fights with the kids ;)

Josehf Murchison

2 years ago

Most fire extinguishers are made for a single use then they need to be recharged.

They also do not have an indefinite shelf life when unused so check the expiry date.

If the extinguisher is past its expiry date it needs to be recertified or replaced.


2 years ago

This is another example of asking for information or help without actually providing the required info required.
Don't know about your definition of long time but my 20kg powder model does pack quite a punch when used....