Special Reports

Testing fire suppression products

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

These products claim to put a fire out in seconds, but do they work?

For our test we enlisted the help from firefighters at the Bucks County Department of Public Safety Training Facility in Doylestown.

First up was the Kitchen Fire Blanket, which sells for $39.00.

We set up a grease fire on top of a stove. As the flames shot up, Chief Fred Hashagen placed the blanket over the pot. Immediately smoke started coming through the blanket but be careful that doesn't mean the fire is out!

"See it started to light back up again," said Chief Hashagen.

We put the blanket back over the pot and let it cool for 5 minutes and that seems to have done the trick.

"It did a decent job as long as your safe with it and don't yank the blanket around. If you leave it on and get help afterwards I think it's a good product," he said.

Next up, the Stove Top Fire Stops, which retails for $56.95. The box contains two small canisters that attach underneath your vent-hood with magnets. Once a flame touches the fire stop fuse the product releases a suppression powder. This product did just that!

"It's a great product," said Chief Hashagen.

So much so that fire marshals in Bucks County are looking into getting grants for products like the Stove Top devices to be able to hand out to the community.

A couple of chiefs here have seen it used and it has saved a lot of property," he said.

And finally we tested the Grotto's On Fire Fireball, which carries a price of $39.95. It says it can be placed anywhere in your home or vehicle, and you just set it and forget it.

The first one we placed on top of a dresser surrounded by accelerant material. The fireball claims to extinguish a fire in seconds once the ball's temperature reaches 158-degrees but in our test the ball reached a temperature of 350-degrees and nothing happened. It took over 10 minutes for the ball to finally go off and when it did the fire was still going.

We did a second test of the fire ball. This time we hung one on the wall above a trash can we lit on fire. Once again, the ball reached 316-degrees, well above the 158-degrees that the product claims to ignite at. When it does explode, it knocked the flames down for a second before the fire flared back up.

In our 3rd attempt, the firefighters rolled it into the fire on the ground. The ball caught fire and exploded but did not put out the fire. So what was Chief Hashagen's reaction?

"I'm not impressed at all even when we rolled it into the fire it took a long time to get into the fire and it still didn't put the fire out," he said.

It's important to note that fire suppression devices do not replace the need for working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home. And anytime there is a fire you should always call your local fire department to make sure it is properly put out.

Statement from Grotto's On Fire Fireball:

It is difficult for us to comment on tests that were conducted without us being present or at least seeing a video so we can verify the conditions as being valid for testing the product. With tests we have conducted on our own under the supervision of firefighters here in New York State, we have had excellent results. This was the case with brush fires, Christmas Tree fires, bales of hay ignited with road flares, wood fires inside steel barrels and more. At of all our tests, we have not had a single case where the Fireball did not extinguish the fire. Results will vary based on different conditions.
We are in the process of conducting numerous types of tests stemming from our rigorous lab testing procedures and I will be more than happy to release those for your use as soon as they are available.

WEB EXTRA: Proper way to use a fire extinguisher

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