You have seen them in cars, homes, and workplaces. But do you know how to effectively operate a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency?
PURCHASE EXTINGUISHERS CAREFULLY
A fire extinguisher should have a label from an independent testing laboratory, such as FM for "Factory Mutual" or UL for "Underwriters Laboratory."
The greater the number rating on a Type-A or Type-B fire extinguisher, the more fire it is meant to put out. Often times, the higher-rated units are heavier models. Be sure to buy an extinguisher that you personally can hold and operate.
Remember that extinguishers require special care and must be recharged after every use. Ask the retailer or the person you purchased the extinguisher from how it should be serviced and inspected. It is recommended that you do not purchase a partially used unit due to the fact that it might be ineffective because or being low or empty.
It may be necessary to have more than one fire extinguisher in your home. For instance, having one in the kitchen as well as one in the he garage could be very beneficial. The extinguishers should be installed in plain view, close to escape routes and away from all potential fire hazards.
TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire they are used for. The type of extinguisher you need depends upon the materials that are burning. Some materials react differently to certain extinguishers. Using the wrong kind can make matters worse, not to mention how dangerous this can be.
Type A Label - - This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, and many plastics.
Type B Label - - This extinguisher is used for flammable liquid fires such as oil, gasoline, paints, lacquers, grease, and solvents.
Type C Label - - This extinguisher is used for electrical fires such as in wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment and other electrical sources.
Type D Label - - This extinguisher is used for metal fires such as magnesium, titanium, and sodium.
HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER
There are four important steps you must know to correctly use a fire extinguisher.
The PASS method can help you to easily remember those steps.
WHEN TO FIGHT A FIRE
#1 The fire department has been contacted.
Everyone has left or is leaving the area.
The fire is small and confined to the location in which it started, such as a wastebasket, cushion, small appliance, stove, etc.
You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
Your extinguisher is of the correct rating for the type of fire you are fighting and is in good working condition.
Most importantly, you are confident that you can operate the fire extinguisher effectively. If you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire - DON'T! Let the professionals do the job.