FIRE EXTINGUISHER REGULATIONS This guidance sets out to clarify the new fire extinguisher requirements for vehicles competing in MSA-permitted events. These new requirements have been published in section (K) of the MSA Yearbook, with effect from 1 January 2018. These regulations only apply where the discipline-specific regulations require a fire extinguisher to be carried on the vehicle as a mandatory piece of equipment. Is a fire extinguisher mandatory in my discipline? The fire extinguisher requirements are detailed in the discipline-specific regulations of the MSA Yearbook, and in all cases the regulations give the mandatory minimum requirement. This has not changed, so if there has not previously been a mandatory requirement for extinguishers in your discipline then the new regulations do not change this. In disciplines where there is no mandatory requirement it is nonetheless recommended that extinguishers are carried. What are the changes and when do they apply? Since 1 January 2018, it has been a requirement for all extinguishers to be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines or every 24 months, whichever is sooner. From 1 January 2019, new build vehicles in relevant disciplines must comply with (K) Competitors: Safety; Appendix 3 From 1 January 2022, all vehicles in relevant disciplines must comply with (K) Competitors: Safety; Appendix 3. Which regulations apply to my vehicle? If your vehicle has competed, or been issued with a Competition Car Log Book/Vehicle Passport, prior to 1 January 2019 then it can continue to comply with the existing regulations in (K)3 until 31 December 2021. Therefore, in existing cars, non-homologated extinguishers can continue to be used until this date, providing that the extinguisher is serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines or every 24 months, whichever is sooner. If your vehicle competes for the first time after 1 January 2019 or is issued with a Vehicle Passport after this date then it must comply with the new regulations in (K) Appendix 3. After 1 January 2022, all vehicles for which there is a mandatory requirement for a fire extinguisher will need to comply with the new regulations in (K) Appendix 3. The individual discipline regulations will define whether the requirement is for a plumbed-in or hand-held system.
What do the new regulations (K) Appendix 3 require? For a plumbed-in extinguisher system, the requirement will be for the system to be homologated by the FIA. There are currently two FIA homologation standards: Fire Extinguisher Systems in Competition Cars (1999) and FIA Standard 8865- 2015. Details of the systems homologated by the FIA can be found on the relevant FIA Technical Lists. Fire Extinguisher Systems in Competition Cars (1999) systems are found in Technical List No.16 and FIA Standard 8865-2015 systems are found in Technical List No.52. These Technical Lists can be found on the FIA Website HERE CLICK HERE for Technical List 16 CLICK HERE for Technical List 52 For FIA-homologated plumbed-in systems, the extinguisher capacity will be defined by the homologation, so there is no minimum capacity as such. However, competitors should note that only certain Fire Extinguisher Systems in Competition Cars (1999) systems are homologated for use in stage rallying; these systems are indicated on FIA Technical List No.16 with a tick in the column headed ‘Rally’. All FIA standard 8865-2015 homologated systems are eligible for rallying. Hand-held extinguishers will need to comply with the regulations in (K) Appendix 3, articles 3.2.2 to 3.2.7, or comply with FIA Standard 8865-2015. The handheld extinguisher must contain one of the permitted extinguishants and the regulations detail the minimum capacity of the extinguisher in either litres or kilograms depending on the extinguishant used. Servicing A fire extinguisher is not a ‘fit and forget’ item; regular servicing and maintenance of extinguisher systems is vital to ensure they are ready to work when needed. Who can service my extinguisher? Non-homologated systems compliant with current regulations (K)3 do not require the service to be carried out by the manufacturer or their agent. However, the MSA would suggest that the competitor checks with the manufacturer before submitting an extinguisher for service, because servicing outside of the manufacturer’s network may affect their recognition of that product. We will always recommend that the manufacturers servicing schedule is followed. For any FIA-homologated extinguisher (List 16 or 52), the servicing must be carried out by the manufacturer or their agent. This is part of the FIA homologation requirements, therefore getting an FIA-homologated system serviced outside the manufacturer’s network will effectively void any homologation. For an FIA-homologated extinguisher, the homologation regulations define what work must be undertaken as part of the service. This is a very thorough service that will involve, among other checks, the internal and external examination of the bottle, replacement of all seals, cleaning and testing of the operating heads and nozzles, and replacement of the extinguisher contents. As this shows, the servicing schedule mandated as part of the FIA homologation is extensive and only the manufacturer will have access to the replacement parts and specialist tools required to undertake this service. In comparison, a fire extinguisher service offered by independent companies will often only consist of the extinguisher being weighed and pressure checked, and the bottle being externally visually inspected. What do I need to do if my fire extinguisher has not been serviced? If your extinguisher is less than 24 months from its date of manufacture then you just need to ensure that it is serviced before it passes 24 months old. The servicing regime must then be maintained throughout the life of the system. If you have a non-homologated fire extinguisher that is overdue a service then this extinguisher will need to be serviced before it is presented for scrutineering and then every 24 months from then on until 31 December 2021. If you have an FIA-homologated extinguisher that is overdue a service, the first thing to do is to contact the manufacturer to see if they can assist. If the manufacturer advises that the time elapsed since the last service is too long and the system cannot be serviced then the only option is for the extinguisher to be replaced.