Using A Fire Extinguisher: A Complete Guide

This guest article is by T.Anthony of sdfirealarms.

A fire extinguisher plays a short role only at the beginning of the fire mostly. But it is a quite handy device when it comes to extinguishing small fires at home or office. Most of the office buildings and homes have a fire extinguisher which is clearly visible hanging on a wall. The unfortunate thing is that not many people know how to use it correctly. Thus, in times of a fire, many people tend to just vacate the place and let the fire spread instead of trying to extinguish it. In modern times, we have a lot of new gadgets, circuits and electrical boards at home or office. Moreover, kitchen fires are also quite common. So, knowing the skill of using a fire extinguisher comes in handy at times. This article explains a few steps about how you can efficiently and correctly use a fire extinguisher.

Using A Fire Extinguisher

Steps of Using A Fire Extinguisher Correctly

1)Call Emergency Services – This is the first thing to do in case you feel the fire is serious and going out of control. Call emergency services like 911 or the fire brigade in case of a serious fire. You can try to extinguish the fire till they arrive. However, you should only try if the fire is not very serious and you feel that it would not spread.

2)Safety comes first – Before trying to operate fire extinguishers, you should make sure that you get to a safe place. While using a fire extinguisher, you should make sure that you are physically able to use it. Moreover, you should also make sure that you know all the exit points. In case the fire is emitting toxic smoke, do not try to extinguish it. Leave it to the professionals who come for help. Moreover, if you have more than one fire extinguisher, you should call another mature person who could help you with it. Always remember that safety comes first and you should not endanger yours or somebody else’s life in some sort of a heroic act.

3)Analyze the situation – As explained earlier, a fire extinguisher should only be used in case of a contained fire. A fire extinguisher will not be of any use of the fire spreads or has already spread. Leave to the professionals in these circumstances.

4)Type of Fire extinguisher – You should have proper information about the fire extinguisher that you own and the types of fire they are capable of extinguishing. Here is a list of commonly available fire extinguishers and the types of fire they deal with :

-Class A – Regular combustible fires related to wood, cloth, paper, plastics, rubber etc.
-Class B – Oil based fires like grease, gasoline etc.
-Class C – Electrical fires
-Class D – Fires related to water reactive metals such as magnesium
-Class K – Kitchen fires like in pans, fryers etc.

5) Using a Fire extinguisher – In case of a fire, break the seal and remove the safety pin. This may look like a nozzle in red color and will be covered with a plastic seal. Do not shoot into the flames. You should aim for the base of the fire. Fire extinguishers work best when you go for the source of the fire rather than trying to put out the flames. A regular fire extinguisher usually has up to ten seconds of extinguishing power. If the fire is not extinguished till then, move to a safe place and exit from the scene of fire.