Fire is one of the top ten leading causes, of accidental deaths, for all age brackets. Often times fires start at night, when families are sleeping and not ready to fight for their safety, in that vulnerable state. A fire safety plan and smoke detectors in your house can help keep you and your family safe in case of a fire, but if you want to be able to help combat a smaller scaled fire, then that requires you having a fire extinguisher, and knowing exactly how to use it.
The idea of fire extinguishers sounds intimidating, but Titan wants you to have full knowledge of extinguishers and the safety behind them, so we’ve put together a list of safety points and a review for you to choose the best ways to keep you loved ones safe from a fire.
Fire Extinguisher Safety
House fires on average can and normally will double in size of the fire almost every minute, so you can imagine how critical the first seconds of a fire starting are critical. Unfortunately normal residential fire extinguishers won’t stop a major fire, but they can control and douse a smaller fire that are common in houses. If a fire does start in your house, follow these steps before you try to put out the fire on your own:
- Make sure everyone in the building has left or is leaving the building.
- Call 911 and notify the fire department and local authorities immediately.
- Be sure to position yourself with an unobstructed exits behind you, in case you need a quick escape.
- Examine the fire and make sure it is confined and not spreading to a larger area.
- Know how to use your fire extinguisher — there isn’t time to learn now!
Keep in mind, if the fire that is at hand, is too large to be put out with a home fire extinguisher, then your next step should be to get everyone out of the property and call 911 immediately. If a fire is too large, do not attempt to put it out, no matter what fire extinguishers you own. As tough as it may be to not fight a fire and watch it burn, remember, your safety is more important than the materialistic things that are burning.
Types of Fires Extinguishers
To really gain an understanding of the different types of fire extinguishers, you first need to know the most common types of fires. There are three different classifications for household fires, and it varies all on the type of fuels that are burning in the house.
- Class A: Solid flammable material that are not metals, such as wood, paper, cloth, plastics, rubber.
- Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, and paints.
- Class C: Electrical equipment, such as appliances and outlets.
Extinguishers meant for the household are designed to fight different more specific types of fires. It’s very important to know the type of fire and fuel burning the fire before you try to use a fire extinguisher on it, different extinguishers use different chemical agents to put out the fires, and they’re only effective on the specified fuel burning the fire. Unfortunately if you use the wrong type of fire extinguisher you can actually make a fire worse.
- APW: Air-Pressurized Water: these fire extinguishers use pressurized water to fight Class A fires only. Do not use water on Class B or C fires, as they can cause the fire to spread rapidly or increase the possibility of being shocked by electricity.
- Foam: These foam fire extinguishers are made to be used against Class A and B fires. They are not recommended for Class C, but are safer than APW extinguishers if they happen to be used on a live electrical device.
- CO2: Carbon Dioxide extinguishers use non-flammable CO2 to fight off Class B and C fires. They are not effective against Class A fires.
- DC: Dry Chemical extinguishers may be labeled ABC or BC to indicate which types of fires they can be used on. They are generally filled with monoammonium phosphate and pressurized using nitrogen.
Rechargeable home fire extinguishers are a lot heavier, but they are extremely sturdy and can be refilled and reused. Disposable fire extinguishers with plastic valves are light and cheap, but have a short shelf life and can be used only once.
Recommendations for Use, Storage, and Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends a fire extinguisher be installed on every floor of your home and that it be inspected annually. The U.S. Department of Agriculture takes that counsel even further: homeowners should install separate fire extinguishers in their kitchen, garage, basement, and car, too. These should be installed in plain view, within easy reach of adults — though out of reach of children — and near an escape route.
It is vital to make sure you regularly inspect your fire extinguisher. Check the manuals that are provided for each extinguisher to get the right recommendations for each extinguisher, but also when to get it maintained as well.
- Check the pressure regularly to ensure it is at the recommended level. The needle should be in the green zone. Replace or recharge any extinguishers if the needle is in the red zone.
- Make sure the pin and tamper seal are intact.
- Check for dents, leaks, rust, or other signs of wear.
- If you have a dry chemical extinguisher, many manufactures recommend shaking it monthly so the powder does not settle.
- Get your extinguisher pressure tested every few years by a professional, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Recharge extinguishers after they have been used, no matter how much (or how little) they were used. Discard disposable extinguishers after use. Your local fire department may offer this service, or you can find a professional recharging company in your area.
How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
While the small details might change depending on the different fire extinguishers that you own, most extinguishers are operated the same way. Stand around 6 to 8 feet from the fire and remember to PASS:
- Pull: Pull the pin on top of the extinguisher to break the seal.
- Aim: Aim low, aiming the nozzle toward the base of the fire.
- Squeeze: Squeeze the handle, releasing the chemical agent.
- Sweep: Sweep from side to side, still aimed at the base of the fire.
Contact Titan Alarm Today: The Premiere Fire Extinguisher Provider in Phoenix
For more information on fire extinguishers for around your house or business, contact Titan Alarm today! Call us today at 602-680-4567