“I work within the shipping industry, where we nowadays use fire extinguishers with powder in many places. Last week, when departing from Seoul with a Boeing 747-800, I began to wonder what kind of fire extinguisher you use onboard your aircrafts?”
We use HALON 1211 on our aircrafts. Halon is, as you already know, an extraordinarily effective fire extinguishing agent. It’s a liquefied compressed gas that disrupts combustion and has the chemical formula CBrClF2. It’s best suited for class B (flammable liquids) and class C (electrical fires), but it is also effective on class A fires. One of the advantages is that’s it’s clean and leaves no residues, which is especially appreciated in an aircraft.
HALON 1211 was introduced already during the seventies, but due to the effects on the ozone layer, it was restricted (Montreal protocol) to special areas only. Aircraft use is one of the few. As you mentioned in your letter, a switch has been made (long time ago) to other agents within your industry. The fire extinguishers onboard an aircraft are seldom used, and there is an effective recycling system in use.
In Scandinavian Airlines System we train and practice firefighting every year in a fire mock up. I used to instruct on these occasions before, and the training is very interesting AND fun! During training, we use CO2 or Foam, and it’s so nice to refresh your skills and know that you’re up to the challenge when needed!
Production of new Halon ceased in 1994. Therefore, recycling and reusing the existing supply intelligently and responsibly to protect lives and property is the smartest thing to do.
- Class A fire – Common combustibles (wood & paper)
- Class B fire – Flammable liquids
- Class C fire – Electrical fires
- Class D fire – Combustible metals