Fire hazards are a common occurrence in the home or place of work. It’s therefore important to be prepared by having a portable fire extinguisher on hand in case a fire breaks out. As well, knowing the different classes of fire will help you to stock the right type of fire extinguisher for fighting different fires.
What to do in case a fire breaks out
- Notify the fire department,
- Alert others about the fire,
- Begin evacuating others from the premises.
- A fire extinguisher will allow you to control small fires before they have a chance to spread.
Before using one, make sure that:
- You have a clear escape,
- You have clear instructions of operating the fire extinguisher, and,
- The fire extinguisher you have is suitable for the fire you are facing.
Make sure you have the Right Fire Extinguisher
The first thing you should do before using the fire extinguisher on a fire is look at the Fire class symbols on the front label to make sure the fire extinguisher you have is suitable for the fire you are facing.
The most common types of fire are: A, B, C and K
- A fires involve common combustibles like wood, paper and tires
- B fires include flammable liquids like gasoline and petroleum oil
- C fires involve energized equipment like things that are plugged in like appliances, computers, television and electric machinery
- K fires involve cooking oils and greases like vegetable oil.
How to properly use a fire extinguisher
Once you determine that the extinguisher is the correct type for the hazard, continue to operate the extinguisher using the P. A. S. S technique to control and put out the fire.
P- Pull the pin. Put the extinguisher upright and pull the pin
A- Aim the nozzle. Stand 8 to 10 feet from the fire and aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Do not get too close or aim the nozzle too high.
S- Squeeze the levers. Once you aim the nozzle is aimed at the base of the fire, squeeze the levers together and discharge the fire extinguishing agent.
S-Sweep from side to side. Maintain your distance from the fire and sweep the nozzle from side to side, sweeping 3 to 6 inches beyond the right and left edges of the fire.
NOTE: Discharge the extinguisher until contents are exhausted to prevent re-ignition.
Move around the fire to confirm that it’s completely extinguished.
Your quick action can save lives and protect property.
Using the fire extinguisher properly is only one part of a fire safety plan. For more information and training videos, go to www.femalifesafety.org.