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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Understanding Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and How to Use Them: A Comprehensive Guide

11/15/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® vehicle in driveway Knowing the different types of fire extinguishers to use incase of a fire is important to protect your property.

Knowing what fire extinguisher is right to use is crucial to fight a fire. We are going to explore the various types of fire extinguishers available, their applications, and step-by-step instructions on how to use them. Your safety and preparedness in the face of a fire emergency are our top priorities.

Know Your Fire Extinguishers

Understanding the different types of fire extinguishers is essential for effective fire management. There are several distinct classes of fire extinguishers, each designed to combat specific types of fires. They are typically labeled with a letter or combination of letters, such as A, B, C, D, and K:

Class A: Suitable for ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth fires.

Class B: Designed for flammable liquid fires, such as gasoline and oil.

Class C: Effective on electrical fires, using non-conductive agents to avoid electric shock.

Class D: Intended for metal fires, like magnesium or sodium.

Class K: Specifically created for kitchen fires involving cooking oils and fats.

Choosing the Right Extinguisher

Selecting the correct fire extinguisher is crucial to extinguishing the fire safely and efficiently. To make the right choice, assess the type of fire risk in your environment and install the appropriate extinguisher accordingly. For homes and offices, a multipurpose ABC extinguisher is often recommended as it can combat a variety of fires.

Using a Fire Extinguisher: P.A.S.S. Method

The P.A.S.S. method is a widely accepted technique for operating a fire extinguisher effectively:

P: Pull the Pin: Start by pulling the pin from the extinguisher. This action allows you to activate the device.

A: Aim the Nozzle: Point the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire where the fuel source is burning. This is crucial for extinguishing the fire effectively.

S: Squeeze the Handle: Squeeze the handle or lever to release the extinguishing agent. The pressure from the canister will propel the agent towards the fire.

S: Sweep Side to Side: In a controlled manner, sweep the nozzle from side to side, covering the entire fire area. Continue until the flames are fully extinguished.

Keep a Safe Distance and Evacuate

Always maintain a safe distance from the fire when using an extinguisher. Stand at a distance of about 6-8 feet, ensuring that you are not too close to the flames. Even after the fire appears to be extinguished, it's essential to remain vigilant. Fires can rekindle, so keep an eye on the area for any signs of reignition. If the fire is not quickly under control, it's crucial to prioritize your safety and that of others. Evacuate the area immediately and call the fire department.

Understanding the various types of fire extinguishers and how to use them is a fundamental aspect of fire safety. Equipping your home or workplace with the right extinguishers and ensuring that individuals are trained in their use can make a significant difference during a fire emergency. By following the P.A.S.S. method and choosing the right extinguisher, you can be prepared to act swiftly and effectively in the event of a fire, potentially saving lives and property.

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