This article will discuss fire extinguishers and how to use them properly.
Nowadays, most buildings have multiple fire extinguishers around the building so that if a fire breaks out, it can quickly be dealt with. Unfortunately, although a lot of people think that fire extinguishers are relatively easy to use, they aren’t. The majority of us have no idea how to use them — typically, most people learn “in the moment” when a fire strikes and they have to figure it out.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
The first thing that you need to know is that there are different types of fire extinguishers. The reason for this is that not all fires can be dealt with in the same way – for example, an electrical fire can’t be put out using an extinguisher that contains any water-based chemicals and if is used, you risk being electrocuted.
In the US, there are 5 types of standard fire extinguishers.
Used for putting out fires caused by wooden items, paper, or clothing.
Used for putting out fires which have been caused by ignited gases and liquids
Used for putting out electrical fires.
Used for putting out fires involving a flammable metal
Used for putting out fires involving grease or oils.
While you should always use an appropriate extinguisher depending on what has caused the fire, it’s more common nowadays for buildings and homes to have a Class ABC fire extinguisher as they can be used for the most common types of fires. However, if you work in a mechanic’s workshop or in a kitchen, you’ll probably find a Class D or a Class F fire extinguisher nearby.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
Never used a fire extinguisher before? Not a problem. Follow these instructions below to quickly learn how to use them.
Step #1 – Quickly Assess the Fire
You can literally do this within 10 seconds; observe the fire, determine what caused it, find a fire extinguisher which is designed for putting out this type of fire, and if necessary, ask someone else to call the fire department.
Step #2 – Preparing the Fire Extinguisher
Now that you have the correct fire extinguisher, make sure that the pressure gauge is in the green “safety area”, and pull out the safety pin (thus, also removing the plastic seal).
Step #3 – Put Out the Fire
The key to putting out a fire is to aim the fire extinguisher at the base/source of it. Once you see that the fire extinguisher has effectively helped to lower the flames, slowly walk closer to the fire until it has been eliminated.
Now, these are the basic steps for putting out a fire although there are two things you need to know:
– If the fire is near enough the same size as you or bigger, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to put it out using a standard fire extinguisher so instead, evacuate the building as soon as possible and call the fire department.
– On top of that, after you believe that you’ve put out the fire, continue to use the fire extinguisher on any of the fire’s source areas for a few moments to prevent it from reigniting.
It’s important that you’re prepared to use a fire extinguisher and that you know how to properly use a fire extinguisher. If the time comes, most people freeze in the moment and their minds go blank, resulting in them not knowing what to do. However, if you have access to the necessary fire extinguisher and you stay focused, you could effectively deal with it and prevent a building from burning down.