Most of us have probably never used a fire extinguisher. It takes calm bravery to tackle a fire, so you must be confident you would know how to operate a fire extinguisher should you ever need to. A fire extinguisher is no good if it just stands in the corner unused when it could prove a lifesaver.
There are a range of different extinguishers, but they all work in a similar manner. What you do need to know is which type of extinguisher you have access to and which types of fire you can use them on.
A standard fire extinguisher only contains about 10 seconds worth of power, so you want to be sure you’re making it count. For the safety of your workplace, you should also have a fire safety assessment carried out. For a Bristol Fire Risk Consultancy, contact http://keloscape.co.uk/areas-we-cover/fire-safety-consultancy-bristol/
Which type of extinguisher is for which type of fire?
The extinguisher will have information printed on it to indicate which type of fire it is safe to use on. You would need to identify what type of material is on fire to know which extinguisher to use. Here are the different types:
Class A – This extinguisher can be used on materials like paper, fabric and wood.
Class B – These are for use on liquids that are flammable, such as petrol, paint and oil.
Class C – This class of extinguisher is for flammable gas, for example butane and propane.
Class D – This extinguisher is only for use on metals that are flammable, for example lithium and magnesium.
Class E – For use on electrical fires.
Class F – For use on cooking fats and oils.
Thankfully, you don’t need to remember all the details as the unit will have class information printed on it.
The best way to tackle a small fire, only if it’s safe to do so, is to apply the P.A.S.S method:
P – Pull the pin on the top of the extinguisher as this breaks the seal and releases the lock mechanism.
A – Aim the nozzle low at the base of the fire and not the flames. Aim the nozzle, hose or horn at the lowest source of the fire.
S – Squeezing the handle will release the agent and keeping the handle depressed will ensure the unit fully discharges. Release the handle to stop extinguishing.
S – Sweep your aim from side to side at the bottom of the fire until it is out completely. You can stand at a safe distance to do this, as extinguishers are designed to be used from distance.
If in doubt, you should never hesitate to call the fire brigade and evacuate everyone to a safe place. Call the fire brigade if the fire is not fully extinguished even though you’ve used the extinguisher.
Once you have discharged a fire extinguisher, it must be refilled or replaced without fail.