With the potential of a fire almost anywhere, and under almost any circumstance, fire extinguishers can make the difference between saving a business and even saving lives.
The Hualapai Valley Fire Department, with the help of four Kingman businesses, has built a trailer designed to train local business employees in the hands-on use of a fire extinguisher, said HVFD Deputy Chief Jim Dykens.
Dykens said he got the idea for the trailer from the Glendale Fire Department in the Phoenix area.
In the past, employees from Kingman businesses had to go to the fire station for training.
There they learned to put out a fire in a 55-gallon drum, full of gas and water, that was cut into half, Dykens said.
A firetruck had to be on hand in case of an accident.
Also when the training ended, water polluted with the gas was dumped into the environment, Dykens said.
The new trailer - easily towed behind a fire pickup - consists of a four-foot square metal tray sitting on a wooden bed.
The tray is filled with water from a 90-gallon tank.
Propane lines sit at the bottom of the foot-deep tray, Dykens said.
When water fills above the propane pipes, the gas is turned on, spewing propane gas beneath the water level.
The water only allows vapors to reach the surface, Dykens said.
When the vapors are ignited, trainees learn to put out the flames in the tank.
The vapors are then lit for the next trainee, Dykens said.
When finished, the clean water is simply drained out of the bottom of the tank.
"There is no environmental hazards and it doesn't tie up a fire truck, taking it out of service," Dykens said.
He said a simple switch disconnects gas from the propane tank if there was a problem.
HVFD will only charge businesses for the propane used in the training, about $1 a gallon.
Another advantage is that the trailer can be towed to any business instead of employees having to go to the fire station, Dykens said.
Honeywell Aircraft Landing Systems, Honeywell Kingman Medical Products, Metz Auto Sales and Arizona Ford Proving Grounds contributed about $1,000 for the trailer, Dykens said.
HVFD's first training, for employees at American Woodmark, is scheduled Aug.
The training also includes a 15-minute video, giving people the basics of the fire extinguisher, such as which type of fire extinguisher is good for the type of fire.
Kingman Fire Department is looking into have a similar version of HVFD's training trailer based at its Station 2, Dykens said.
Dykens said a Honeywell facility in England was recently required to pay $25,000 to a British fire department to train its employees in using a fire extinguisher.