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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Using a Fire Extinguisher

7/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire extinguishers are like insurance: you have it in hopes of never needing it.  There are three different types of fire extinguishers class A, class B, and class C.  Class A is for fires that involve combustibles such as wood, paper, plastic, cloth, and trash.  Class B is for fire that are caused by flammable liquids such as gas, kerosene, and oil(not cooking oil).  Class C is for fire that start by an electrical spark.

even though there are different types of fire extinguishers, they all operate basically the same way.  They all use the P.A.S.S. system which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. 

STEP 1: Pull the pin, usually attached to a metal or plastic ring, used so that no one hits the lever by mistake.  Do not pull the lever after you pull the pin, if you pull the lever you could break the canister's seal and decompression will begin. 

STEP 2: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.  This is important because blasting the flames will not stop the source of the fire.  Stand at least 6 feet back from the fire.  Most extinguishers have a range of 6-20 feet and you can check yours by looking at your extinguisher.  

STEP 3: Squeeze the lever to spray the extinguishing agent .  Usually, extinguishers have an average spraying time of 10 seconds, so you will need to do be precise and fast.

STEP 4: Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire has been put out.  Close in on the fire as it dies down, and make sure to watch closely for re-ignition.  If there is still smoke that means that there is still fire, so if you see any smoke that means that the fire isn't completely out yet.  The best way to make sure that the fire is out is to feel for heat.  Slowly and cautiously holding your hand out to feel if there is any heat coming from the surface before actually touching the charred surface.  

STEP 5: After using your fire extinguisher, you will need to refill it.  Contact the manufacturer or local fire department to see where you can refill your extinguisher.  If you can not refill the extinguisher, let it sit for a few days to make sure it is completely depressurized.  You can also contact your local fire department for information about recycling the extinguisher and purchasing a new one.  

Make sure you check you extinguisher monthly to make sure the pin is in place and the pressure gauge shows either between 100 and 175 psi, or the needle is in a green ready zone.   

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