How To Use And Maintain Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are common fixtures around our homes and public areas, but do you know how to operate one? Furthermore, do you know that there are different extinguishers meant to tackle different kinds of fire? Most adults have never used a fire extinguisher and do not know how to use one. Sadly, the only time most people read the instructions is when there is a fire emergency underway, at which point it might be a little too late.
Fire extinguishers are sturdy metallic cylindrical containers that contain different materials inside to combat different kinds of fires. There are color codes used to distinguish the particular contents of any fire extinguisher.
The most common color is red, which contains water and is classified are:
Class A. These are used to tackle fires from solid materials such as wood, cloth and plastic.
Class B extinguishers are used for flammable liquids such as oil, petrol or diesel.
Class C extinguishers are meant for electrical equipment, D for metals and K for kitchen fires caused from oils and fats.
Using the right extinguisher for the particular cause of fire is therefore very important. Using a fire extinguisher in a flammable liquid fire such as from petrol would be counter-productive. This is why it is important to recognize and have the right fire equipment where needed. Kitchens and hotels are more likely to have class K extinguishers while homes can have water or powder extinguishers. Some extinguishers are applicable for a variety of fires and can be used for fires in several classes. Such information is always clearly displayed on the canisters.
Everyone should learn how to use this important equipment. It’s simple and easy. Besides, it could make all the difference in an emergency. To use a fire extinguisher, all one has to do is pull the pin located right on the grip handles. Once removed, point the nozzle to the base of the fire and squeeze the handle as you sweep the spray across the base of the fire while standing a safe distance away.
Fire extinguishers are meant to tackle fires before they get out of control warranting a fire service’s attention. Most electrical or accidental fires start small and at this stage a fire extinguisher can easily quell such flames. However, they only contain a limited amount of fire suppressant inside and can therefore not tackle big fires.
Before using one, it’s advised to ensure that the fire is small enough to be tackled with an extinguisher and that one is positioned near an exit point. One should also stay a safe distance away from the fire.
To avoid having redundant fire extinguishers, they should be checked annually and refilled immediately after use.