Everything you need to know about Fire Extinguishers
Surely, most of us (if not all) have already seen a fire extinguisher in our lifetime. For building and establishment owners, especially public establishments, having fire extinguishers and fire exits are two of the major requirements to be able to operate.
Residential house owners are also encouraged to buy fire extinguishers for safety against fire outbreaks. But purchasing a fire extinguisher is not enough, is it? Before buying a fire extinguisher, you have to ask yourself the following questions;
- Do you know the different types of fire extinguishers and what to choose?
- Do you know the basics of using a fire extinguisher in tackling fire?
- How about the maintenance?
- How do you dispose of old fire extinguishers and when should you dispose of it?
Those are some basic questions that you should know and that could potentially save your life. In this article, we are going to discuss some, if not all, of the questions above.
The Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
As there are different types of fires, there are also different types of fire distinguisher to tackle them. After all, “give to Caesar what’s for Caesar and to Paul what’s for Paul”, right? Well, not sure if that quote fits perfectly here, but you get the idea.
You cannot put out an oil-based fire with a water-based extinguisher, it wouldn’t work. So, it is a must for you to know which is for what.
So there are different types of fire extinguisher classified according to the type of fire they can extinguish. These are the most common ones…
Water – Air-pressurized Water Extinguishers (APW) – these are used for ordinary fires like in paper, cloth, plastics, rubbers, and wood. These type of fire is labeled as Class A.
CO2 or Dry Chemical – Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers – these are used for flammable liquid and electrical fires only, which is classified as Class B and C fires. This is the type of extinguisher that is filled with Carbon Dioxide. Because it is pressurized, dry ice shoot out from the horn when it is used.
Foam Extinguishers – foam spray extinguishers are not recommended for fires involving electricity but are safer than water if inadvertently sprayed onto live electrical apparatus, although they are more adaptable to different types of fires than water fire extinguishers??
Multi-purpose – Dry Chemical Extinguishers – from the name itself, you can already guess that you can use this fire extinguisher for different types of fire. And you guessed it right! This extinguisher can be used for both Class A, B and C fires. And it’s the most common extinguisher that you can see in the malls.
Class K – Dry and Wet Chemical Extinguishers for Kitchen Fires – this type of extinguisher is specifically designed for fires that usually originates from the kitchen like oil-based fires. Oil goes against water, so you cannot use the water extinguisher for it. And kitchen fire, usually from deep fryers and kitchen appliances, cannot be easily extinguished by Class B extinguishers. Therefore, there is a need for this fire extinguisher as it has both dry and wet chemical components that are designed specifically for these types of fire.
Tips on Using and Placing Fire Extinguishers
Now that we have got ourselves familiar with the different types of extinguishers and their functions, let’s get into the proper way of placing and using these fire extinguishers.
Here are some tips that you can use at home or in your business;
- Learn how to use the fire extinguisher. Study the guide that comes with it and doesn’t wait until there’s an actual fire before you get yourself familiar with However, this doesn’t mean that you can use the extinguisher just “for practice”. Most fire extinguishers have to be serviced and refilled once it is used, so please, don’t practice with it unless you want additional costs.
- Position extinguishers where it is most accessible. This is pretty much self-explanatory, as you would want to be able to grab the extinguisher right away, in case of fire.
- Watch the temperature. Since these are pressured containers, overheat and over cold could cause the extinguisher to explode. Put it in an area where the temperature is the most normal. Never put it above a heater or fire, but keep it out of reach of children. You would know where to put it – I’m sure you would!
- If this is a fire extinguisher for a business, make sure that you have them serviced once a year. It is a requirement, after all.
- When using the fire extinguisher, position yourself near the escape route of the fire, in case the fire breaks out bigger.
These are very easy to remember tips that could save you and your families’ lives. You can print this out or write it on a sheet of paper, just so you can always go back to it when needed.