When was the last time that you had to use a fire extinguisher?
For most of us, fire extinguishers are one of those things we like to have around but hope never to use them. In this blog post, we're going to cover some quick tips on fire extinguisher use, it's gonna include:
To know about how to fight fires you first have to understand the fire triangle. For a fire to exist there need to be three elements in place. Those elements are oxygen, heat, and fuel.
Fire extinguishers are designed on the type of fuel that may be needed to be extinguished. Using the wrong type of extinguisher can actually just make a fire worse.
Think, for example, of an oil fire being extinguished with a water extinguisher. Now the oil is naturally going to float on top of the water and the water will just encourage the fire to spread.
It’s important that you know the type of fuel that you're going to need to extinguish to choose the right extinguisher.
Fire extinguishers are designed to remove just one side of the fire triangle. For example, a lot of fire extinguishers are powder extinguishers, they suffocate the fire with powder removing the oxygen. Or something like a water extinguisher will remove the heat from the fire.
It's a pretty simple science all in all.
The classes of extinguisher that you need to know are A, B, C, D, and K.
Now one thing to know about fire extinguishers is that some are specific to just one type of fuel. It may be simply a type A extinguisher or a type K but most can extinguish more than one type.
For example, an A, B, C fire extinguisher. This is actually the most common one out there. It uses a dry powder to smother the fire.
Portable fire extinguishers are built to extinguish fires that are in the incipient phase. This is the phase that comes soon after ignition before the fire has really generated a lot of heat. A fire in this phase is roughly the size of an office trashcan.
Now you don't want to extinguish fires that have gone to the next phase which is the growth phase. In the growth phase, the fire starts to generate heat and grows rapidly.
A fire extinguisher isn't designed to extinguish a fire that large. In fact, you're going to run out of chemicals before you get that far along.
One thing to note when making the decision whether to evacuate or fight the fire is that most fire extinguishers only have enough extinguishing agent to last about 30 seconds.
In the event of a fire always make the decision that your safety is your priority. Never put yourself in the position where the fire is blocking you from the exit and only fight it if you feel comfortable and safe doing so.
To fight a fire using a fire extinguisher remember theP.A.S.S method. That is:
Once the fire’s out it's not uncommon for the fire to reignite a few minutes later. So make sure that you're keeping watch until you're certain that it's out and done.
Now you know the basics of fire extinguisher use. Make sure you go around your work area and check that you have the right fire extinguishers for the type of fuel available.
Also, check the fire extinguishers to make sure that they're properly charged and ready to go in case they're ever needed.
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