During the Cold War, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps installed highly pressurized Automatic Fire Extinguisher Systems in their tanks and troop carriers to protect crews from flash fires caused by incoming rounds. After 9-11, the same systems were installed in many other vehicles potentially vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, training for vehicle maintainers did not keep pace with the additional installations. The tragic result is that maintainers are now dying or being seriously injured because the extinguishers are not being properly handled when they are serviced. If safe practices are not observed, the 25-pound bottles holding fire suppressing chemicals can become lethal projectiles. The Kidde division of United Technologies Aerospace Systems has devised a remedy that eliminates the danger, but it requires replacing old extinguishers with safer ones. It is an easy fix, but Congress needs to mandate expeditious replacement before more maintainers die. I have written a commentary for Real Clear Defense here.
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