Handheld Fire Extinguishers?

Most pilots know that all powered aircraft except ultralights need fire extinguishers. That requirement is outlined in CAR 602.60 but that CAR is pretty general in nature. It just requires “a hand-held fire extinguisher in the cockpit that is

(i) of a type suitable for extinguishing the fires that are likely to occur,

(ii) designed to minimize the hazard of toxic gas concentrations, and

(iii) readily available in flight to each flight crew member”

That CAR doesn’t tell you what standard the fire extinguisher has to meet, if any and doesn’t refer to anywhere else in the CARS to look for a standard for fire extinguishers.

As is common in the CARS there is a standard, but it is well hidden and not cross-referenced from the regulation.

The standard for fire extinguishers is hidden away in CAR 551.400. This CAR indicates that it is the standard for “Hand-Held Fire Extinguishers required by CAR 602.60, 604.41, 704.83 and 705.93.” and includes this information note:

“As required by CAR Part VI and VII requirements, hand-held fire extinguishers shall contain a type and quantity of extinguishing agent suitable for the kinds of fires likely to occur in the compartment where the extinguisher is intended to be used. For crew and passenger compartments, hand-held fire extinguishers shall be designed to minimize the hazard of toxic gas concentrations.”

It then lists the acceptable standards that hand held fire extinguishers must comply with. These are any of: TSO C19b, approved by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada, bearing ULC approval label; approved by the British Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) for aircraft use; approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for aircraft use, including extinguishers approved to TSO-C19b “Portable water-solution type fire-extinguishers”; approved by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (U.L.), Factory Mutual Research Corporation to specification U.L. 1093 (construction and operation), and to specification U.L. 711 (rating and testing); approved by U.S. Coastguard under title 46 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, for use in aircraft; approved for aircraft use by the airworthiness authority of any country, whose standards are accepted by the Minister.

The CAR then gives information on the installation: “The installation of hand-held fire extinguishers shall be such that when properly secured in its mounting:

(1) the extinguisher will remain secure when subjected to the ultimate inertia loads established by the aircraft basis of certification, but not less than the following ultimate load factors:

Load Factors Aeroplanes Rotorcraft
forward 9.0 4.0
sideward 1.5 2.0
upward 2.0 1.5
downward 4.5 4.0

(2) the extinguisher will have a “quick release” function to enable easy removal from its mount.

The standard then finished with requirements for Identification and Markings:

(1) The hand-held fire extinguisher shall be identified and marked with the applicable specifications as determined by the approving authority per paragraph (b).

(2) A stowage compartment or stowage container that contains a hand-held fire extinguisher shall be clearly marked as to its contents.”

So as long as your installed handheld fire extinguisher meets one of those stated standards and is mounted as described then it will meet the CAR requirements.