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Choosing and Using Fire Extinguishers

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Nabeel Ali
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Fire extinguishers are the most critical assets when it comes to fire safety and dealing with fire emergencies.

Fire extinguishers can help you save the properties and lives of people, but first, you must have the proper training for using the fire extinguishers.

Encourage people in your building to get proper training for the fire safety protocol and the appropriate usage of portable fire extinguishers.

Everyone needs to know which type of fire extinguisher will extinguish without residue depending upon the class of fire they are trying to wipe out.

In this blog, we will talk about choosing the correct fire extinguishers and how to use them.

Let’s get started!

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are basically divided into five types, depending upon the class of fire, and you should choose fire extinguishers that extinguish without leaving residue.

Class A

These portable fire extinguishers are used to put out ordinary fires such as wood, paper, and cloth fires. Class A fire extinguishers are commonly found in homes and office buildings.

Class B

These fire extinguishers wipe out fires caused by combustible liquids such as; oil, gasoline, grease, and oil-based paints. Class B fire extinguishers are also usually found in-home or business buildings.

Class C

Class C fire extinguishers are used with electrical fires caused by or in electrical equipment such as; tools, appliances, or plugged-in electrical equipment. These fire extinguishers are frequently found in buildings and homes.

Class D

Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in factories and used with fires caused by flammable metals.

Class E

These fire extinguishers are used with fats, animal oils, and vegetable oils in kitchen cooking appliances. Class E fire extinguishers are usually found in the home and commercial kitchens.

Multipurpose Fire Extinguishers

Multipurpose fire extinguishers are those which can deal with more than one class of fire. They are labeled as A-B-C, B-C, or A-C fire extinguishers.

How to Decide, When to Use a Fire Extinguisher

It would be best if you considered some things before using the fire extinguishers in case of a fire emergency or ignition.

Here are some questions that you must ask yourself before putting your hands on the fire extinguisher:

  • Am I physically fit enough to handle the fire extinguisher?
  • Can I handle the smoke caused by the fire, as I need to be close to the fire flames to wipe them out using the fire extinguisher?
  • Are other people in the building aware of the fire ignition
  • Has someone called for help from the fire protection department?
  • Is the fire small? Can it be handled with the fire extinguisher?
  • Is there a clear route of escape for me in case of an emergency?

If all of the above questions are answered with a ‘yes, you are allowed the grab the fire extinguisher and fight as the frontline firefighter, but staying within the safe limits and if the fire can be contained.

Children should not use fire extinguishers. You should never hand over fire extinguishers to your children.

How to Use the Fire Extinguisher?

Well, as I said before, everybody needs to know how to use the fire extinguisher. Ask your fire department to teach this, or you can do it if you know the proper protocol.

Tell the occupants to remember the word PASS, which means,

P: Pull the pin off the extinguisher. Hold the extinguisher in such a way that nozzle is away from you. Now it’s time to release the locking mechanism.

A: Aim your fire extinguisher as lowest as you can to the base of the fire so that you can avoid reignition.

S: Squeeze the lever of the extinguisher evenly. Don’t forget to take it slow.

S: Sweep the nozzle of your fire extinguisher from side to side.

You see, using a fire extinguisher is no big deal. You just need the proper training. And it would be best if you considered all the precautionary measures and the questions I told you above before actually grabbing the fire extinguisher.

The Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers is Important!

Fire extinguishers are the possible equipment that can help you put out the fire. You must take care of its maintenance.

Pressure Level

Most fire extinguishers come with pressure gauze, which informs you if the pressure is too high or too low.

Cleanliness

Look for dust, grease, and oil on your fire extinguisher and remove it so that it cannot hinder the functioning of your extinguisher.

Working Parts

Make sure that all the parts of your fire extinguisher are working. Check if the nozzle is rusted or broken.

Easy Access

Fire extinguishers should be placed in areas where they can be easily accessed in a fire emergency. Every floor should have a fire extinguisher of its own.

Instructions

Some fire extinguishers need to have a monthly or yearly pressure check; make sure to do it regularly!

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Nabeel Ali
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