In an emergency, you need to know how to use your fire extinguisher. If the only maintenance that has occurred is a little dusting since it was inspected and certified, then now is not too late for a refresher course in what does or doesn’t work!
In case your home’s most important safety device has been sitting around collecting cobwebs – don’t worry, because we have everything right here with this helpful guide from experts who want nothing more than to assure you of peace of mind during any fire disaster which might come knocking at your doorstep.
This article will help explain some common house fires as well as how they’re classified by their origin – which determines whether an extinguisher’s appropriate for use on them.
Choose The Right Fire Extinguisher
Many people are under the impression that all fires need to be put out with water, but there is a variety of different types. You need to know what type your fire is so you can make sure it gets extinguished quickly and effectively!
Most household fires will fall into the following categories:
Class A is fire with solid fuel such as wood and paper.
Class B includes flammable liquids like oil or gasoline or natural gas (though this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cook on your stovetop).
Class C falls under “start them yourself” since we’re talking electrical problems here – think fuse boxes and appliances themselves plus wiring issues too complicated for most people.
Class K which can be started by cooking oils/greens etc., animal fats and vegetable fats.
The label on your fire extinguisher is a useful way to know which type of fires it can put out. A household logo will indicate that this extinguisher is for use in an ordinary home, while other symbols show which class the fire extinguisher is designed to combat. We recommend buying bigger and heavier duty models if you have more than one place where they may need be used because smaller ones may not always cope with large flames.
The higher the rating of a fire extinguisher, the larger and more powerful it is. Class A fires are rated from 1-40 while class B is between 1-640. There is no size specifically assigned to class C because they’re too numerous for categorization.
Fires also vary in intensity which means you’ll need different types depending on what’s happening at your home – something important when selecting one that will work well within your personal limitations.
How To Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
Once you understand the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, it’s important to be able to properly operate one. The best way is by studying these steps so that when disaster strikes all will go well in protecting your loved ones.
- Identify a clear exit/escape route before you operate your fire extinguisher, and make sure that if the flames cannot be put out, there are multiple options available for an evacuation.
- Stand back about 8-12 feet away with your back towards an open path where you can escape in case of emergency – this will help keep yourself between 6′ to 8’6″ (1-2 meters) away so as not to be too close, but far enough way to use the fire extinguisher.
3. Discharge your extinguisher. It can be difficult to think clearly during an emergency, so fire safety has a long-standing acronym that you should remember – PASS
P: Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
A: Aim the extinguisher nozzle low, toward the base of the fire.
S: Sweep – discharge the extinguisher, then sweep the nozzle back and forth. Keep the fire extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and move it from side to side until the flames are extinguished.
4. Watch the area around your fire, and make sure it doesn’t reignite again: If flames start back up after you’ve extinguished them with a fire extinguisher or they did not go out, then repeat the PASS process above
5. Call local authorities – They will be able to inspect what happened at the scene of the event (including checking if anything needs further attention).
6. If the fire is out or you are unable to extinguish the flames, evacuate immediately. Get as far away from the fire as you can before calling anyone else.
Common Fire Extinguisher Mistakes
When you experience a fire, it’s easy to make simple mistakes if we haven’t had practice fighting them. Know where most people go wrong so you can avoid making those same errors while under pressure and with an emergency on your hands.
A thorough read of operating instructions will ensure everyone within your home has familiarized themselves before responding in case anything goes wrong – no one should ignore this step because the risks of injury or worse increase when there is no knowledge of how safety equipment works best.
Review these instructions regularly when you are reviewing evacuation plans and conducting fire drills.
The wrong type of fire extinguisher can be a dangerous thing to use, but it is even more so when you’re not sure which one.
It’s important to know which one will work for your situation. A Class A Fire can be handled by any kind, but there are some that shouldn’t be used on certain types like electrical or grease fires – this is why they have “limited-use” labels.
For example: never take a fire extinguisher with an “A-Class Only” label and try to put out electrical or grease fires with one that says B+C; they simply won’t work!
Class K fires are the worst, but they also happen to be a type of Class B fire. But other contents in your standard kitchen extinguisher can make these worse so it’s best if you have one on standby for any cooking mishaps. Make sure not to let them expire either; after expiration date, their effectiveness will expire too.
Maintaining your fire extinguisher is just as important, if not more so than the actual tool itself. The pressure needle should always point towards the ‘green zone’ and once hitting the red zone, it lacks enough chemicals to release its contents under normal conditions. It will then require recharging, which can be done by any certified professional service provider.
Always remember that not keeping your fire extinguisher in pristine condition will leave you vulnerable for future emergencies.
Don’t forget about exits: When you decide where to keep your fire extinguisher, make sure it is in an easily accessible location near exterior doors. Also consider the most common places fires happen and place your extinguishers accordingly.
For those who live at home or visit often enough – babysitters, house sitters, etc., make sure you share your evacuation plan, fire extinguisher locations and other important information so they are aware of what’s happening around them if disaster strikes.