How To Properly Operate A Fire Extinguisher

My recommendation is not to use a fire extinguisher if you can stop it at all, as it can be more dangerous than initial thought. Extinguishers can be strong, not easy to use, even more dangerous if you use the wrong one on electricity, e.g. a water extinguisher, so it might easily turn into a bigger fire, and you can get trapped. Knowing how to properly use a fire extinguisher with the above described probably could save your life. Visit Francis Fire Protection Services Ltd.

If possible, read the instructions before using one in an emergency, although this is not likely to be possible unless you have a truly slow working day.

There are a few different styles in the UK and the distinction you need to know is this:

Red contains water, and can be used on most items except for flammable liquids and electrical items.

Blue is dry powder suitable for electric fires and flame-retardant liquids.

Black is CO2 and suitable for flammable liquids and electric fires. Try never to keep the end of the nozzle, because this may cause the skin to freeze. Not ideal for use in enclosed spaces because it operates by pushing out oxygen and thus could inhale CO2 from the user.

Cream contains foam that is suitable for most flame retardant liquid fires. Any foam extinguishers can be used on electrical fires, but if you’re unsure about using one of CO2.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Pull the pin at the top to allow to use the extinguisher.

Try to extinguish a source at the base of the explosion. Aiming at the flames will help but it will not effectively put out the fire.

Squeeze the lever, and

Sweep across the front of the fire working backwards from side to side.

Remember a fire extinguisher is not a water / CO2 or foam supply without limit. Typical extinguishers located in offices will have no supply of more than 20-30 seconds so make sure that you only use it on a very small scale fire or use it as you have no alternative.

In order to achieve safety, fire extinguishers should be located near fire exits so that they can be used to smash a door or window. You will need to use your discretion, of course, but if necessary, call the fire service as soon as possible and evacuate the building if you are in any danger.

It could be very worthwhile to spend a few minutes learning how to use a fire extinguisher, although you will never need to use it in most cases.

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