Fire Extinguishers 101

Fire extinguishers are a must when it comes to preventing and protecting your home and office space from fire. Portable fire extinguishers are often the first line of defence against small fires, but they can easily be forgotten and placed in a back corner; hopefully never needing to be used. However, just like all safety equipment, fire extinguishers need to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are operable in the event of an emergency.

Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Preforming regular inspections is the best way to ensure the extinguisher is in working order and ready to use. Portable fire extinguishers must be inspected on a monthly basis. An inspection should include the following steps:

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher

It is important to be aware of the different types of fire extinguishers and the class of fire they are rated to be used on. The class of fire extinguisher must match the type of fire, especially if combustible metals, electricity, oils or grease are present in the work area. Portable fire extinguishers are labeled with color-coded letters and/or pictograms that indicate the type of fire they are designed to extinguish. Using the wrong type of fire extinguisher could be ineffective, resulting in electrical shock, explosion or even spreading the fire.

Extinguisher Types

fire extinguisher chart
Extinguisher Types

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher:

PASS It is common for people to panic and become flustered in the event of an emergency. Because of this a simple, effective, and memorable four step process for operating a fire extinguisher was developed. When using a fire extinguisher remember the acronym PASS.

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Portable fire extinguishers are only recommended for small manageable fires. In the event the fire escalates or can no longer be controlled, leave the area and call emergency services for help.

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