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Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals: Fire Risks

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Fire Risks


00:00 - Unfortunately fire risks and motorsport do go hand in hand and we need to be prepared both on and off the track.
00:07 The best form of fire prevention in the workshop is preparation so before welding or grinding, make sure that your work area is clear of flammable items like rags, saw dust, paperwork, fuel and aerosol cans.
00:19 Sparks from a grinder or a welder can travel a long way and most workshop fires are the result of a spark smouldering within something for hours before finally catching alight.
00:28 With your workshop free of fire hazards, we need to assess the job we're performing and prepare it for the fabrication process.
00:35 In an automotive situation you're always going to be dealing with fire hazards so we need to learn how to prevent them.
00:41 For most of us, it's just not practical to remove the entire fuel system out of a vehicle for example to perform a simply fabrication job so we need to take care in isolating the risk by ensuring that the main fire hazard is sealed and protected against the fabrication process.
00:57 This means that breather tubes, filler necks, fuel lines and leaks need to be sealed and isolated before starting work.
01:04 The easiest and best way to prevent a fire during fabrication processes is to have multiple weld blankets on hand to cover up areas such as the fuel system, engine bays, seats, wiring and anything else that may become an ignition source.
01:18 Weld blankets are fire retardant blankets that have traditionally been constructed from heavy leather but more recently these have been made from woven fibreglass blends.
01:27 These are essentially big sheets of exhaust wrap that can withstand upwards of 1000°C and protect everything from burns and spatter.
01:35 It's important to point out here that weld spatter and automotive glass like windscreens for example, do not mix.
01:41 The spatter will pit and damage the glass so a weld blanket is essential in any situation where your spatter may end up reaching the glass.
01:49 Mobile welding screens also play an important part in fabrication.
01:53 They protect onlooker's eyes from the ultra violet light being emitted and they also offer a barrier to protect your surroundings from weld spatter and grinding dust.
02:02 If you have a dedicated weld bench, it can be a good idea to permanently attach a few to a curtain rail for a quick setup.
02:08 Even with these precautions in place we still need to prepare for a fire by making sure that we have adequate extinguishers on hand if we need to put one out.
02:17 When choosing a suitable fire extinguisher we need to consider which type will be the most suited to our motorsport workshop requirements.
02:24 There are five different categories of fire classed according to the type of fuel source.
02:30 Class A fires include wood, cloth, paper, plastics and rubber while class B fires are flammable and combustable liquids like petrol, ethanol blends, diesel and oil.
02:41 Water must never be used on a class B fire.
02:44 Class C fires are combustable gases like LPG, CNG and propane and isolation of the fire is the only safe way to extinguish it.
02:54 Class D fires are combustable metals like magnesium, aluminium and sodium.
03:00 Class E fires are electrically energised equipment fires and it's important to understand that water must never be used on electrical fires as there's a risk of electrocution.
03:11 Lastly, class F, specifically covers oil fires and blankets are the most effective in these situations and recommended in conjunction with extinguishers.
03:20 Every fire extinguishers is classified by the class of fire it can be used on and it will clearly say so on the outside of the extinguisher.
03:28 There is some overlap between the classes like B and F for example but the most commonly used fire extinguisher for our purposes is an ABE type which can be used on class A, B, C and E fires.
03:42 It's essential to have at least one that can be easily accessed inside your workshop or garage.
03:47 There's a lot of different sizes when it comes to choosing a fire extinguisher and the size is defined by the weight.
03:52 It may be tempting to choose a smaller extinguisher in the 1 to 2 kg range however they're very limited in the size of fire they can put out.
04:00 It's best to pick up a 9 kg extinguisher which should be sufficient to deal with most workshop emergencies.

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