Fire Extinguisher Use
Guidelines on how to use a Fire Extinguisher Safely
Elements of Fire
Before extinguishing a fire, it is important to understand the elements that make up a fire. In order for fire to occur, four elements must be present: oxygen, fuel, heat, and a chemical chain reaction. This is represented by the Fire Tetrahedron. When any of the four elements are removed, the fire will go out. Fire extinguishers function by removing one of the four components of the Fire Tetrahedron.
Fire Extinguisher Training – Types of Fires
Fire Extinguishers are rated based upon the types of fires they are designed to put out. These ratings are identified on the label of the fire extinguisher. Care should be taken to ensure the extinguisher chosen to put out a fire is proper for the type of fire. Listed below are the four main types of ratings.
- Class A: Ordinary combustible materials, wood, paper, plastics and clothing
- Class B: Flammable Liquids and Gases
- Class C: Energized Electrical Equipment
- Class D: Combustible metals
Fire Extinguisher Training – Types of Fire Extinguishers
Use the following types of fire extinguishers:
- Water (Class A) : More details here
- Carbon Dioxide (Class BC) : More details here
- Multipurpose Dry Chemical (Class ABC) : More details here
- Dry powder (Class D)
Follow the PASS procedure when operating any fire extinguisher:
P: Pull the pin.
A: Aim at the base of the fire.
S: Squeeze the handle or lever.
S: Sweep from side to side.
Rules for Extinguisher Usage
- Be trained in extinguisher use
- Use on small fires that are not spreading
- Know what type of fuel is burning
- Before extinguishing the fire, position yourself with the exit at your back;
- Do not attempt to extinguish the fire if you are in jeopardy or feel uncomfortable doing so.
Fire Extinguisher Training – Maintenance
Missing or discharged fire extinguishers should be reported.