How safe are you from...
a FIRE !?
As a large Reptile
keeper one of my primary concerns has always been the safety of my family.
I have kept hundreds of Boa Constrictors and produced thousands of babies
but my greatest concern has always been the danger of fire. For this
reason I have always taken all the special safety precautions I knew
how to take to ensure that my family has always been safe. There are
two primary things you can do to ensure the safety of your family and
your herps. 1. Avoid flammable materials as much as possible. 2. Utilize
heating sources that get warm enough but not TOO warm. Let me elaborate.
First thing: All of our cages and racks are built from a PVC type plastic.
PVC is "self extinguishing". Self-Extinguishing! This
means when you attempt to burn one of my cages or racks the material
itself releases a gas that extinguishes the flame preventing the material
from self-consuming. I have personally taken a torch to my plastic and
burned it for a full minute. As soon as the torch is removed the plastic
material is extinguished and ceases burning! That is correct. Our cages
and racks can't burn without an external fuel source. So when we install
heat "inside" a cage or rack, since it is fully encased in
the plastic, the heater can't possibly start the cage or rack on fire.
This is why we ensure that at no time can any of our heat sources come
into direct contact with anything other that our "self extinguishing"
PVC. If a sheet of Flexwatt somehow did get hot enough to start on fire
that fire would go out for two reasons. 1. Since it is fully encased
it can't get any oxygen which is needed to feed a fire thus it would
go out. 2. The plastic material itself if burned will release the gas
that will extinguish the flame. Being a family man it's nice to
have peace of mind knowing that our cage plastic is "self extinguishing".
Obviously any wood products can and will burn. Polyurethane, Polystyrene,
ABS, Acrylics, Acetals, Cellulose Acetate, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate,
Cellulose Propionate,Cellulose Nitrate, Polyester and most other plastics
are flammable as well if they have not been specially formulated not
to be so. Many of these plastics can be purchased with an additive that
makes that plastic "self extinguishing" like PVC. We do not
know if any other cage manufacturers use the "self extinguishing"
type of materials or not. Before making your next cage purchase you
may want to ask if the materials used in the cages/racks you are considering
are "self extinguishing". When you make your next purchase
you might want to consider how important the fire risk is to you and
your family and can your supplier ensure that their cage materials
will not burn.
Secondly: I use low wattage Flexwatt to avoid unnecessary hot spots.
The last thing anyone needs is a fire. I have always used lower wattage
Flexwatt that has not been readily available to the Herp community.
I had been purchasing this from a local distributor and now I get it
directly from the manufacturer. The Flexwatt I had used primarily was
11" wide and only 10 watts per foot. This is half the wattage of
the readily available 11" Flexwatt. I used a larger warm spot rather
than a small "hot" spot to heat my Reptiles. A hot spot that
is 95 degrees is really too warm for most herps to rest on. A larger
warm spot of 88 degrees will be readily utilized by most herps when
warming is desired. So my general philosophy has always been larger
warm spots vs. a smaller "hot" spot that many other Herpers
use. This is also a safety advantage. Lower temps equal a reduced chance
of fire. We build and configure caging to heat adequately in a normal
environment. We do not build caging that is intended to be used in a
60-degree environment that would be unreasonable to expect to be kept
adequately warm. If we did and that same housing was moved to a normal
room say in the summer time there could be serious problems. If an air
conditioner fails and no thermostat is used we don't want you or your
Reptiles to be in danger. Thermostats and rheostats can fail as well.
I have had two brands of "Herp" thermostats fail over the
years. I have also had a few rheostats stick in the wide open position
but at no time were my Reptiles is danger of death because I do not
use the higher wattage heaters when the lower wattage does the same
job more effectively. They were unhappy and uncomfortable but fine.
This is why we use the thermostat we do. It is the absolute best
most reliable thermostat we know of period.
I hope after looking over the site it is obvious that we are trying
to do much more than just blow cages and racks out the door. We want
to help you be as successful with your critters as we have been. If
you have a situation and need assistance, as a Boaphile Plastics customer
you can count on us to help with consulting and coaching you to achieve
what you need in your Herp housing.
line your safety is our number one concern and the well being of your
herps is a close second. You can count on us to have these things at
the forefront of everything we do every day.
Jeff Ronne / The Boaphile