In the event of a fire would you be useful or useless? This blog will contain all your essential facts and basic knowledge about fire extinguishers. It is important that you act quickly when a fire begins and choosing the right fire extinguisher is extremely important too, choosing the wrong fire extinguisher is a recipe for disaster.
Five useful facts you need to know about fire extinguishers
- Fire extinguishers need to be recharged after every use. If you use one remember to fill it back up, it could save someone else’s life.
- Fire extinguishers do not last forever but they do not have an expiration date on them. Fire extinguishers are required to be serviced by a service engineer every year. Water, spray foam, and dry powder extinguishers require discharge testing every five years. CO2 extinguishers require pressure testing every ten years. Employers should try and remember this as it is something that is easily forgotten about but extremely important to do.
- Different extinguishers are needed for different fires. There are five different types of fire extinguishers; water, foam, CO2, ABC powder, and wet chemicals.
- Your employer should check the fire extinguishers in the workplace regularly. This includes making sure the extinguisher is easily accessible if needed, making sure the extinguisher is full, and checking for any damage to the extinguisher.
- Only trained people should operate a fire extinguisher. When using the extinguisher you should follow P.A.S.S.
What P.A.S.S means:
P– pull the pin at the top of the fire extinguisher to activate.
A– aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
S– squeeze the handle carefully, you can potentially freeze your hand to the tube!
S– sweep from side to side from the base of the fire.
Now you’ve gained some useful facts about fire extinguishers! Let’s talk about the different fire types and what extinguishers will be appropriate to use on different fires. From reading the useful facts you will now know that there are five different types of fire extinguishers but which one will be the right one to put the fire out?
We will start with the water fire extinguisher, the water extinguisher only works on class A fires. This means that water extinguishers will only put out fires that involve wood, cloth, paper, plastics, coal, and other similar materials. Do not use a water extinguisher on electrical appliances and oil fires. Water extinguishers are red and should have the word water written clearly at the top of the extinguisher.
Another type of fire extinguisher is ABC powder. A powder extinguisher is suitable for class A, B, and C fires. When using a powder extinguisher you need to make sure that you thoroughly put out the fire, this is because the powder is thicker so the fire can restart if not saturated properly. This extinguisher should have powder written on the front in a blue box underneath
saying ABC powder.
Foam extinguishers are primarily water-based which contains a foaming agent. They are suitable to use on class A and B fires. Foam extinguishers are not suitable to use on-chip or fat pan fryers along with electrical fires. These extinguishers have foam written on the front in a cream box.
Carbon dioxide extinguishers are used for class B and electrical fires. These extinguishers have CO2 written in white inside a black box. CO2 extinguishers are suitable for offices and workshops fires because they can tackle tricky electrical fires. They suffocate the fire by displaying oxygen in the air. Do not use a CO2 extinguisher on class F fires.
Lastly is the wet chemical extinguisher, this type of extinguisher is used for class F fires. These extinguishers have wet chemicals written in a yellow rectangle on the front of the extinguisher.
Wet chemical extinguishers are not suitable to use on class B fires.
Hopefully, you will not have to use any types of extinguishers in the workplace but after reading this blog you will have more knowledge of fire extinguishers and their different uses. So when you are in a situation of fire you won’t be useless you will be useful!