Safety: Fire Extinguishers
It may sound strange, but for Christmas one year, I gave my family a gift-wrapped fire extinguisher. If you think about it, what better present is there to show you care?
An extinguisher would make a wonderful wedding gift for a new couple as well! Of course, we all would pay anything to keep our families safe, but in this case the price is very reasonable. I believe I paid less than $20 for our household extinguisher at the local discount store.
PS Nancy says no matter what emergency services tell you, squirting the contents of a fire extinguisher at the four-foot rat snake in your home will do absolutely nothing to make it go back outside where it belongs.
PPS Don't forget to replace your fire extinguisher every so often.
click on the photo of Martha Bear® to enlarge it
TYPES OF FIRES
There are three common classifications of fire:
Many fire extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one designation, such as A-B-C.
USE OF A FIRE EXTINGUISHER
There is a four-step method to follow when using a common household fire extinguisher. If you remember the word "PASS” and the fire is controllable, you'll be able to put it out successfully.
"P” Stands for "PULL” the pin. When you remove the pin that runs through the handle to lock it down so it isn't accidentally pressed, the handle will be able to be squeezed and the extinguisher will discharge.
"A” Stands for "AIM”. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, standing approximately eight feet from the flame.
"S” Stands for "SQUEEZE” the handle. This will discharge the chemic le that will smother the fire.
“S” Stands for "SWEEP,” meaning to move the extinguisher back and forth as you aim at the base of the fire until it is out. Watch the area carefully for several minutes since it may re-ignite!
TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Dry chemical extinguishers contain a compressed, non-flammable gas as a propellant and are often rated as multi-purpose, meaning they will put out all types of fire, including Class "A, "B” and "C.”
Halon extinguishers contain a gas that inhibits the chemical reaction when fuel burns. This type is most often used for electrical equipment fires since no residue is left behind.
Water extinguishers contain water and a compressed gas and are only for use on a Class "A,” ordinary combustible fire.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are best for Class "B” and "C” fires (liquids and electrical). The gas will disperse rapidly, so these extinguishers have an effective range of only three to eight feet.
IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE
BEFORE a Fire Breaks Out:
Make sure everyone knows the main evacuation route and alternative routes BEFORE a fire breaks out. Do it now. This could save the lives of those you love.
Make sure everyone in your household knows how to use a fire extinguisher.
AFTER a FIRE Breaks Out:
Evacuate the building. Make sure everyone is out.
Call the fire department.
Determine if the fire is small enough for you to handle with a fire extinguisher.
Make sure the fire extinguisher is rated for your type of fire.
Start discharging your fire extinguisher at the base of the flames, from as far away as possible and still hit the flames.
Always back away from the fire, even if it appears to be out in case it re-ignites.
If the fire is too large for you to handle, don't be reckless and try to put it out yourself. That's what the fire department is for.
Make sure you close the door behind you when you leave to help contain the flames and smoke.
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