One of the things you probably see on a daily basis is a fire extinguisher. When you are at work, at school, and certain other places, you may walk past a fire extinguisher. Hopefully, you have one at your home as well. However, you probably do not know how to use a fire extinguisher. Perhaps, one thought you have when it comes to fire extinguishers is that they are very simple to use.
PASS: What Are The 4 Steps in Using a Fire Extinguisher?
- PULL - Pull the pin to break the safety tamper seal.
- AIM - Aim low towards the base of the fire.
- SQUEEZE - Squeeze handle to discharge.
- SWEEP - Sweep the trajectory side to side at the base of the fire.
Fortunately, there is nothing complicated about a fire extinguisher. However, you do need to be aware of a few things. One fact that may surprise you, many Americans don't know the right way to use a fire extinguisher. This fact is presented by FEMA. Fires grow quickly, doubling by the minute. This leaves very little time to try to figure out how to use a fire extinguisher. The time it takes for you to try to read the manual of the extinguisher is all the time that is needed for a small fire to become a full-on catastrophe.
What Are The 4 Types of Fire Extinguishers?
It is not only important to know how to use a fire extinguisher but also important to know what type of fire extinguisher you are user. There are 4 different types of fire extinguishers, and each of them are good for different types of fires. The types of fire extinguishers are named according to their class. The class indicates the type of fire that they can put out.
Class A: This type of fire extinguishers are good for fires that have started from wood, paper and other type of ordinary combustible items.
Class B: This type of fire extinguisher is designed to be used on grease, oil, gasoline and other flammable fluids.
Class C: This type of fire extinguisher is designed to be used on fires from electricity.
Class D: This extinguisher class is the best for flammable metals.
This is based on the stateside classification system for fire extinguishers. Knowing that there are four types of fire extinguishers is a good start in learning how to use a fire extinguisher in the case of a fire. Many fire extinguished are considered ABC extinguishers. They can be used to put out fires that are started from paper, flammable fluids, and electricity. They put out fires with the dry chemical known as monoammonium phosphate. There is also the Class K fire extinguisher which is designed for commercial kitchens. The chemicals used in the Class K fire extinguishers are also less likely to cause damage in the appliances it is used on.
Do You Need Training to Use A Fire Extinguisher?
If there is an area where you can get training on how to use a fire extinguisher, it is recommended to get that training. You need to know the most effective way to put out a fire. Depending on where you work, you may need to undergo training on fire extinguisher usage. One method that will help when it comes to fire extinguishers is the PASS method.
Remember The PASS Method:
1. Pull the pin. Make sure that the nozzle is pointing away from you.
2. Aim low at the base of the fire
3. Squeeze the lever. Make sure you do it slowly.
4. Sweep from side to side as you are squeezing.
Also, there are some emergency services and community organizations that may offer classes on how and when to use a fire extinguisher.
What to Do After You Use A Fire Extinguisher?
This is another important step. After using the fire extinguisher to put out a fire, there is going to be residue left over. Therefore, you are going to have to clean up. The first thing to do is put the fire extinguisher back where you got it from. Then you are going to need a vacuum cleaner. This is for vacuuming the loose debris from the fire. For the residue that is stuck on the surface, take isopropyl alcohol and dilute it with warm water so that it is 50% alcohol and 50% water. Spray solution on the residue and let it sit for several minutes. Afterwards, wipe it down with a damp rag.
In the case of sodium bicarobonate and potassium bicarbonate residue, take some vinegar and mix it with water for a solution. The solution should be made up of 98% hot water and 2% vinegar. Apply the solution to the residue and let it sit for several minutes. Afterwards, take a wet rag and wipe the area.
For monoammonium phosphate residue, take some baking soda and mix it with water to form a paste. Then apply the paste to the residue and let it sit for several minutes. Then take a wet rag and wipe the residue away from the area.
The affected area needs one more wash with soap and water. Then it should be rinsed off as well. In order for the area to dry quickly, you can use a fan. If there is any dry fire extinguisher residue on clothing, cookware, or dishes, then they can be washed in the washing machine, dishwasher, sink or any of the usual methods of cleaning.
Leave it For The Professionals
It is not wise to try to take on every fire. Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is one thing. There are cases when you might need to get out of the building quickly and let the professionals handle it. One way that you can tell whether the fire needs to be put out is by looking over at the fire. If the fire is taller than you, then you should not try to put out the fire yourself. It is better to get out.
If you are taller than the fire, then there is another factor to consider. It is the type of fire extinguisher you have and the type of fire. For instance, a class A extinguisher only has pressurized water. Therefore, it is not going to be very effective in putting out a grease fire.
Another thing to check is whether the fire extinguisher is fully charged with enough pressure or is within the proper date to use. One way to know is the position the needle is in on the gauge. If the needle is on the green, then you can use the extinguisher. Otherwise, you are better off getting out as quickly as you can.