A ccording to the National Fire Protection Association, a car catches on fire once every two minutes. You’d think they’d just drop that car into a lake and be done with it once and for all, but the point remains that racers are even more vulnerable to the threat of fire, and not just on-track; in the pits, back in the garage, and even in your RV, a good fire extinguisher can be the difference between a dramatic tale of disaster averted and the end of your race program (and possibly your life). While many racers are well-prepared for an incident on the dragstrip with a fire suppression system permanently installed in their car, and track crews can be relied upon to reach your vehicle in seconds, the same isn’t true in the pits, where response time can run into several minutes at best. Because the danger of fire is well-understood, it’s common to see consumer-grade dry chemical fire extinguishers in RV’s, trailers, and shops. While they’re certainly better than nothing, and do a good job on all kinds of fires, dry chemical extinguishers are their own special kind of hell to clean up, and the damage caused by the fine powder may rival that created by the fire in the first place, depending on how quickly it was put out. Fortunately, there are effective alternatives to traditional dry chemical extinguishers, and H3R Performance is in the forefront of fire protection for racers with their HalGuard ‘clean agent’ systems. Widely used in the aviation market, Halotron1, the agent used in HalGuard extinguishers leaves no residue, doesn’t cause thermal shock to electronics or other components, and is EPA approved. It’s discharged as a rapidly-evaporating liquid, which makes it easy to direct from a safe distance, unlike some other formulas developed to replace Halon. Speaking of Halon, H3R’s systems won’t kick the ozone layer’s ass like Halon did before it was pulled from the market. Available in sizes ranging from 1.4 pounds (net) all the way up to giant wheeled systems for track personnel, H3R has something for every fire protection need.
In some cases, the ‘cure’ of a dry chemical extinguisher is worse than the disease, especially when a defective valve assembly dumps the entire load inside your non-burning garage. This incident cost publisher Chris Vopat more than $1000 to clean up, which gives you an idea of why ‘clean agent’ extinguishers are a good investment.
In addition to the standard aviation-style mounting clamps that come with the HG100 and HG250 extinguishers, H3R also offers NHRA-approved billet band clamp brackets in polished or brushed finishes, with matching quick-release bases for flat surface mounting, or clamping to 1 5/8- or 1 3/4-inch roll cage tubing.
For use in shops, garages, trailers, and tow vehicles, H3R offers larger extinguishers like the HG500, 1100 (shown here) and 1550 that carry up to 15 pounds of HalGuard agent. The 500 is even available in a chrome finish for a little extra bling in the back of the Featherlite.
The HalGuard Automatic Fire Suppression System is designed for fixed installation, with units available that will cover up to a 28-foot trailer or 1800 square feet of garage/shop with a single system. Mounted to the wall, they contain up to 55 pounds of active agent and are designed to provide automatic protection round-the-clock – a thermal head senses excessive heat and activates the fire suppression unattended. With heads rated at 155, 175, 200, and 286 degrees F, you simply need to determine what the maximum temperature inside the trailer or shop will normally be, then add 50 degrees to select the right one for your application. The FM-200 agent used in H3R’s suppression systems, which has different dispersal properties than Halotron1, is actually so safe that it’s approved as a propellant for asthma inhalers, and unlike traditional sprinkler systems, fills the protected space in three dimensions, penetrating areas that water mist can’t reach.
The ultimate fire extinguisher in the HalGuard line is the HG15000R, which contains a whopping 150 pounds of extinguishing agent. They also offer the smaller 6500R, which holds 65 pounds. Either one would be a good choice for track use, or a large shop where big fires are possible. With four-digit price tags, they’re still cheaper than losing a car or building.
Nobody plans on having a fire, but if you do, it’s nice to be able to do something other than helplessly watch it burn. The little HG100C may superficially resemble the typical ricer-toy extinguisher, but it packs almost a pound and a half of HalGuard clean agent, has a steel cylinder and all-metal valve construction, and is completely rechargeable.