Fire Extinguishers play a vital role in any fire protection plan in any environment. They are a first aid response to fire and can help prevent catastrophic damage to property and even loss of life.
If you’re a business or property owner, legislation holds you responsible for the provision of appropriate firefighting equipment on the premises – and this legislation rules that you ensure maintenance and regular inspections of the fire extinguishers are kept up to.
Fire extinguisher, portable or movable apparatus used to put out a small fire by directing onto it a substance that cools the burning material, deprives the flame of oxygen, or interferes with the chemical reactions occurring in the flame.
WHY FIRE EXTINGUISHERS ARE IMPORTANT :
Fire extinguishers can be a small but important part of the home fire safety plan. They can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the fire department arrives.
Fire extinguishers are provided to give first aid fire-fighting capability, in the event of a fire incident, you’d certainly want the extinguisher to work as expected. As such, there is a need for proper maintenance.
While fire extinguishers are needed to put out small fires, they also have an amazing benefit towards the environment. By having the ability to control fires, fire extinguishers limit the amount of pollution that is caused by smoke and burning debris.
TYPES OF FIRE :
- Class A– This fire extinguisher can be used to control or extinguish fires coming from combustible materials such as paper and wood.
- Class B– This fire extinguisher can be used to fight fires caused by flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease, and oil.
- Class C– This fire extinguisher can be the best fire safety device for electrically triggered fires.
- Class D– This fire extinguisher is intended for putting out fires caused by flammable metals.
- Class E – Fires involving live electrical apparatus. (Technically ‘Class E’ doesn’t exists however this is used for convenience here)
- Class F – Fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.
TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS :
- Water Extinguisher
Water Extinguishers are used on Class A fires – those whose source is solid (for example wood, paper and textiles).
There are four different types of water extinguishers: water jet, water spray, water with additives and water mist or fog.
- Water Jet Extinguishers work by spraying a jet of water at the burning materials, cooling them and preventing re-ignition. They should not be used on live electrical equipment.
- Water Spray Extinguishers use a very fine spray of water droplets, each droplet is surrounded by air which is non-conductive.
- Water Extinguishers With Additives are water extinguishers with foaming chemicals added. The water loses its natural surface tension meaning that it can soak into the burning materials more effectively.
- Water Mist Or Fog Extinguishers apply water in the form of mist, or fog, the droplets are much smaller than those from the water spray extinguisher.
Foam Extinguishers are suitable for Class B fires (flammable liquids) and are recommended for Class A-risk areas too (those featuring combustible materials).
- CO2 Extinguishers
CO2 Fire Extinguishers though carrying a B classification, a CO2 unit is ideal for an electrical fire risk leaving no residue nor carrying a risk of damage to associated equipment.
- Dry Powder Extinguishers
Dry Powder Extinguishers also known as ABC fire extinguishers are suitable for Class A, B and C fires – those involving solids, liquids and gases.
- Fire Blankets
Fire blankets are primarily for use on hot oil fires such as frying pans or small deep fat fryers. They can also be used on someone whose clothing has caught fire. They work by smothering the fire, stopping access to the oxygen fuelling it and extinguishing it.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PERFECT FIRE EXTINGUISHERS :
Remember – safety first! Check whether these can remove the heat and are ideal for fire tackling or not. These should not conduct electricity and can be used on flammable liquids like petrol or solvents.
There are different types of fire extinguishers. So, you need to think carefully before tackling any type of fire. No single extinguisher can be used to tackle every fire, and because each type of fire extinguisher has different classes of fire on which it is effective, selection can be a minefield.
These are some important aspects that you should know about a fire extinguisher.
HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER & WHERE TO PLACE THEM :
The following four-step technique can be memorized more easily with the acronym PASS:
- Pull: Pull the pin to break the tamper seal.
- Aim: Aim low, pointing the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. (Do not touch the horn on a CO2 extinguisher since it becomes very cold and can damage skin.
- Squeeze: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire – the fuel source – until the fire is extinguished.
Using an extinguisher and placing them in an appropriate place is equally important to tackle fire. Special demonstrations can be availed along with the fire fighting system. It is important to install these devices in a place where people can easily find them. At homes, it should be placed where you can easily reach them in case of emergencies where as in office it is best to place them at exits and hallways