A halogenated fire extinguisher does not spray solid materials that will be left behind once the fire is out. Halon extinguishers will often be used in an environment where a residue might cause harm to certain people or equipment, such as engines or flammable liquids. While these extinguishers can be beneficial in certain environments, they can also present serious problems if mishandled, according to a safety brochure from the Montana State Government.
High concentrations of halon can create an oxygen-deficient environment. This can cause people to suffocate.
Placing skin in contact with the liquid being sprayed from the extinguisher can cause chilled skin and frostbite.
Skin and Eye Irritation
Like most toxins, halon fire extinguishers can cause damage to eyes and skin. Irritation can occur even without direct contact with the halon.
Interruption of the Central Nervous System
Large amounts of halon gas that get inhaled can interfere with the proper function of the central nervous system. The symptoms of this are dizziness and a tingling sensation in the extremities, and in some cases victims will also go unconscious.
Halon gas can cause irregular heartbeats and an increased heart rate in response to adrenaline. In extreme cases, this can result in a heart attack.
A punctured or damaged halon extinguisher can present a danger because the release of pressure can turn the metal cylinder into a high-velocity missile.
- Photo Credit fire extinguisher image by Chris Roselli from Fotolia.com
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