Topic: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

I'd like to visit the proper protocol for use of the fire suppression system.  There seems to be some differences of opinion on what to do.  Specifically, when to pull the handle

The expressly stated purpose of a fire suppression system is to protect the driver.  What are the factors when deciding when to pull the handle.  This will vary greatly depending upon the situation. 

Step 1:  See fire
Hit the kill switch and put the car in neutral.  Fire is generally caused by oil or fuel.   If you're still moving and your car is in gear, your oil pump is still working.  Putting the car in neutral will stop the pump. The kill switch will eventually stop the flow of both fuel and oil, but there is no guarantee that will extinguish the fire. That engine crud you've avoided cleaning makes a great fuel source.  Maybe you've shot a rod through the side of the pan and and your headers are being fed by 5 quarts of dinosaur juice.

Step 2:  Is the fire in the cab?
Yes-Stop the car as quickly as possible and get out.  If you can remember to leave it in gear or put it in park, all the better.  If possible pull off the track.  Pull the suppression handle on your way out of the car.  The reason you pull the handle on your way out is you will be blinded by the activation of the system.  This is the way it was taught to me at the Lemons rookie meeting in 2019.  If you are hung-up or being actively burned, pull the handle.  The suits we wear provide a minimum of 10 seconds until you begin experiencing second degree burns.
2A-If you get hung-up or are incapacitated, pull the handle in the hope the system extinguishes the fire and then continue to try and exit the cab.

Preface: this was not taught in the Lemons safety meeting and is something that will not be condoned by many.

Step 3-If the fire is not in the cab and isn't a giant inferno.  I am going to coast to the nearest corner station or rescue worker.  Remember the engine is already dead.  When I get to the area I plan to stop, I will pull off the track, put the car in gear(or put it in park if you drive an automatic), exit the vehicle, and pull the handle.  I'm sure many of you are cringing at this.  If I feel I can safely get the car off the track I want to be near someone that A has an extinguisher, and B might be able to help pull me out if I get stuck.  The corner worker is under no obligation to do either and you shouldn't expect help.  If you get it, all the better.  They're not in safety gear. 

When exiting the vehicle remember you're on a hot track.  Other drivers may have no idea your life is in danger.  Do your best to pull off the track.

Never put yourself in danger to save your car.  You'll be able to buy a lifetime of Lemons vehicles for the cost of one trip to the burn unit.

TL;DR: 
I see Flames.
I hit kill switch
I pull off track and put it in gear, if possible
I get out of car
I pull handle on way out

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Bricoop wrote:

TL;DR: 
I see Flames.
I hit kill switch
I pull off track and put it in gear, if possible
I get out of car
I pull handle on way out

I am GTO ASAP. I will pull the handle on the way out if the fire is in the car. Otherwise, it can burn for all I care. My personal safety i way more important than a 25+ year old Saturn.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

chaase wrote:
Bricoop wrote:

TL;DR: 
I see Flames.
I hit kill switch
I pull off track and put it in gear, if possible
I get out of car
I pull handle on way out

I am GTO ASAP. I will pull the handle on the way out if the fire is in the car. Otherwise, it can burn for all I care. My personal safety i way more important than a 25+ year old Saturn.

Are you bailing out of this?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvygLq7nJZw

4 (edited by chaase 2022-07-15 01:25 PM)

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Bricoop wrote:
chaase wrote:
Bricoop wrote:

TL;DR: 
I see Flames.
I hit kill switch
I pull off track and put it in gear, if possible
I get out of car
I pull handle on way out

I am GTO ASAP. I will pull the handle on the way out if the fire is in the car. Otherwise, it can burn for all I care. My personal safety i way more important than a 25+ year old Saturn.

Are you bailing out of this?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvygLq7nJZw

To clarify, I try to get the car off the track because I don't want to bail out onto a hot track when avoidable. In the case of a full blown engine fire and the track is hot and I am on it, then I am pulling the suppression system hoping it takes care of it.If it doesn't, I am getting out and running into the grass.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Having had an engine oil fire in one of my race cars a few weeks ago during which I activated the Safecraft Novec 1230-type onboard fire suppression system, I can tell you three things:

1. I don't regret activating the bottle at all
2. It's really hard to tell exactly how bad the fire is or isn't when you're in the cockpit
3. The Novec 1230 agent worked great. Immediately put out the fire and had zero cleanup

My advice is to pull to the nearest manned corner station if one is very convenient, but if one isn't very convenient, just pull over. Then, activate your fire bottle, and while the bottle is still going, get out of the car. My reason for activating the bottle before getting out is to give myself more time in case I were to get hung up while trying to get out of the car.

In my adventure, the fire was a relatively small one in a "good" spot started by a loosened 8AN connector spraying down the exhaust header with engine oil, so it wasn't "that bad". Of course, I didn't know that at the time; all I saw were flames. It could have easy gotten worse, and it would have been a huge pain in the ass if some critical wiring or the bodywork had been damaged. Popping the bottle effectively cost $500, but it was cheap insurance against the possibility of an even bigger expense. (Note that this wasn't my Lemons race car.)

Jeff

Turbo-Encabulators -- 1999 Mazda Miata -- Winner overall, BFE GP '22

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Thanks everyone, this post made me realize that I have never seen a fire suppression system in action. Are any of you unfortunate enough to have had to use yours…. and have video? I did find this one on YouTube
https://youtu.be/GNLxFnKUih8

2021 Gingerman-I:  IOE (Strickland Propane)
2021 Gingerman-II:  20 seconds of footage on the wrap-up!
95 Chevy S-10

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Bricoop wrote:

Step 2:  Is the fire in the cab?
Pull the suppression handle on your way out of the car.  The reason you pull the handle on your way out is you will be blinded by the activation of the system.  This is the way it was taught to me at the Lemons rookie meeting in 2019.  If you are hung-up or being actively burned, pull the handle.  The suits we wear provide a minimum of 10 seconds until you begin experiencing second degree burns.

I really hope nobody has nozzles pointed at the driver's face... As the video right above shows, a properly installed system won't completely engulf the driver's head area.

There are also different styles of fire suppression systems legal right now, like FE-36/gas discharge systems that wouldn't blind the driver like a foam or powder system would.

Ultimately if it's that important, you should probably contact your system's manufacturer and discuss it with them. Until then, I was taught pull handle first, then exit, if there is fire on the inside...

World record simca driver, kei car owner, zymurgist
1989 Merkur XR4Ti - Project Merkur Space Program - Winner "Halloween Meets Gasoline" The Pitt Maneuver 2022
1980 Dodge Challenger: Most Extreme eLemonAtion Challenger (Rust Belt Ramble 2021 Dishonorable Mention)

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

That_Noise_Is_Normal wrote:

Thanks everyone, this post made me realize that I have never seen a fire suppression system in action. Are any of you unfortunate enough to have had to use yours…. and have video? I did find this one on YouTube
https://youtu.be/GNLxFnKUih8

Have seen a few used, but haven't had to discharge one myself. On one it didn't even look like anything was discharged (I think foam that dissipated). On the other, the suppressant was a powder substance after breakdown but it was easy to vacuum out with a shop vac. I've seen on fire cars back out on track within hours.

World record simca driver, kei car owner, zymurgist
1989 Merkur XR4Ti - Project Merkur Space Program - Winner "Halloween Meets Gasoline" The Pitt Maneuver 2022
1980 Dodge Challenger: Most Extreme eLemonAtion Challenger (Rust Belt Ramble 2021 Dishonorable Mention)

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Last October at a champ race in Pittsburgh, our driver (and car owner) was out and saw smoke in the mirror.

He pulled to the inside of a corner into the grass. As he stopped, there was fire under the hood, and in the cab.

He pulled the handle, and was stand next to the car in under 18 seconds from coming to a full stop. The bottle did its job and put out the fire.

The cause was a loose fitting that sprayed the header with oil.

Lost some wires, but it was back and running 2 weeks later at Loudon.

Practice your escape. I know when we got to loudon, I did a few drills of bailing out. Just to see if I could do it. Wasn't even planning on driving.

88 Festiva  -  Damn Tree!!!
"We Are Not Really From Iran" Festiva  -  Motor and Trans to be anounced

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Teuobk wrote:

Having had an engine oil fire in one of my race cars a few weeks ago during which I activated the Safecraft Novec 1230-type onboard fire suppression system, I can tell you three things:

1. I don't regret activating the bottle at all
2. It's really hard to tell exactly how bad the fire is or isn't when you're in the cockpit
3. The Novec 1230 agent worked great. Immediately put out the fire and had zero cleanup

My advice is to pull to the nearest manned corner station if one is very convenient, but if one isn't very convenient, just pull over. Then, activate your fire bottle, and while the bottle is still going, get out of the car. My reason for activating the bottle before getting out is to give myself more time in case I were to get hung up while trying to get out of the car.

In my adventure, the fire was a relatively small one in a "good" spot started by a loosened 8AN connector spraying down the exhaust header with engine oil, so it wasn't "that bad". Of course, I didn't know that at the time; all I saw were flames. It could have easy gotten worse, and it would have been a huge pain in the ass if some critical wiring or the bodywork had been damaged. Popping the bottle effectively cost $500, but it was cheap insurance against the possibility of an even bigger expense. (Note that this wasn't my Lemons race car.)

Jeff

+1. I haven't activated one myself but I'd vote to take an extra .2 seconds to pull a handle to give myself more time.

I guess in an ideal world you would hit the kill switch and pull fire while pulling over and coming to a stop.

Full Ass Racing
#455 Piñata Miata
#735 BMDollhÜr 7Turdy5i

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

duthehustle93 wrote:

+1. I haven't activated one myself but I'd vote to take an extra .2 seconds to pull a handle to give myself more time.

I guess in an ideal world you would hit the kill switch and pull fire while pulling over and coming to a stop.

What system do you have? 

The replies to this thread show there is no clear consensus as to when to pull the handle (when you're not on fire).  And I believe it lies largely in the type of extinguishing agent being used.  I read through SPA's manuals on their site and they don't provide any recommendations for activating the system.    It was actually a question asked during my rookie meeting and it was very clearly answered, you should be pulling the handle as you're leaving the vehicle. 

Many systems are much less pleasant than the video shared by TNIN. 

In regards to my part 3, I wouldn't recommend driving all the way through the hot pit as you're introducing fire into the area designated for fueling, but I'm sure the guy was happy to stop at an extinguisher. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8IPoLd88Bs&t=45s

Re: Ricky Bobby - You're on Fire! Now what?

Lifeline zero 2000. Admittedly, I'm not sure how unpleasant AFFF is, but I would imagine it's more pleasant than a fire.

I also suppose that it depends on where your nozzles are pointed. Our cabin nozzles are pointed at the parcel shelf where the fuel tank and pump live, at the pedal box where fire likes to find the driver, and at the drivers legs. As you mentioned, instructions are always pretty vague for these kits (I'm assuming for liability which is total BS), but we pointed everything around the driver with the intent of keeping fire away from the driver and to buy the driver more time.  That's at least how we saw fire suppression, as a tool to fend the fire off from the driver to give him time to egress.

I'm glad your referencing the rookie meeting, as there isn't enough defined info on how to install these kits or how to use them. However, I'm still not seeing how it'd be safer to pull it after you get out of the car. If you pull it while coming to a stop (adding zero seconds), or sometime before exiting the car, it will buy you valuable seconds while only adding ~quarter of a second or less to yank a handle. My worry is car fires sometimes go from "oh that's cute" to giant fireball in a split second. Pulling the handle at "oh that's cute" may prevent it from turning into a fireball while you butterfinger your way out of the burning car in a panic.

I could see professional motorsports where drivers can egress in a couple seconds in their sleep to just focus on getting out, but I've seen some of our egresses and some look like a calf being born (no offense intended haha). I think at our level of inconsistent, 5+ second, unrehearsed egresses, and then adding the stress of a fire.. I think the risk of it turning into a fireball without suppression in those 5 seconds is very high.

Full Ass Racing
#455 Piñata Miata
#735 BMDollhÜr 7Turdy5i