First Defense Fire & Safety

Fire Exinguisher Use

There are four elements that must be present for a fire to exist.  There must be Oxygen to sustain combustion, Heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature, Fuel to support the combustion and a Chemical Reaction between the other three elements.

Remove any one of the four elements to extinguish the fire.

Not all fires are the same.  Different fuels create different fires and require different types of fire extinguishing agents.

·         Class A fires are of ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, trash and plastics.

·         Class B fires are in flammable liquids such as gasoline, petroleum oil and paint.  Class B fires also include flammable gases such as propane and butane.  Class B fires do not include fires involving cooking oil and grease.

·         Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as motors, transformers and appliances.  Remove the power and the Class C fire becomes one of the other classes of fires.

·         Class D fires include combustible metals such as potassium, sodium aluminum and magnesium.

·         Class K fires are fires in cooking oils and greases such as animal fats and vegetable fats.

Today’s most widely used type of fire extinguisher is the multipurpose dry chemical that is effective on Class A, B and C fires.  This agent works by creating a barrier between the oxygen and the fuel elements.

Rules for Fighting Fires…Just remember the three A’s

·         ACTIVATE the building alarm system or notify the fire department by calling 9-1-1.

·         ASSIST any persons in immediate danger, or those incapable on the own, to exit the building, without risk to yourself.

·         Only after these two are completed, should you ATTEMPT to extinguish the fire.

Only fight a fire:

                if the fire is small and contained. 

The best time to use a fire extinguisher is in the early or incipient stage of the fire.  Once the fire starts to grow, or spread, it’s best to evacuate the building, closing doors or windows behind you.

                if you are safe from toxic smoke.

 If the fire is producing large amounts of thick, black smoke, it may be best to not try to extinguish the fire.  Remember that all fires will produce carbon monoxide and many fires will produce toxic gases that can be fatal, even in small amounts.

                if you have a means of escape. 

You should always fight a fire with an exit or other means of escape at your back.  If the fire is not quickly extinguished, you will need to be able to get out quickly and avoid becoming trapped.

                If your instincts tell you it’s okay. 

if you do not feel comfortable attempting to extinguish the fire, don’t try – get out and let the fire department do their job.

It’s important to know the locations and types of extinguishers in your workplace prior to using one.  Fire extinguishers can be heavy, so it’s a good idea to practice picking up and holding an extinguisher to get an idea of the weight and feel.

Take time to read the operating instructions and warnings found on the fire extinguisher label.  Not all fire extinguishers look alike.

Practice releasing the discharge hose or horn and aiming it at the base of an imagined fire.  Do not pull the pin or squeeze the lever.  This will break the extinguisher seal and cause it to lose pressure.

When it’s time to use the extinguisher on a fire, just remember to PASS.

·         PULL the pin.

·         AIM the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire from the recommended safe distance.

·         SQUEEZE the operating lever to discharge the fire extinguishing agent.

·         SWEEP the nozzle or hose from side to side until the fire is out.  Continue to discharge agent until extinguisher is empty.  Move forward or around the fire area as the fire diminishes.  Watch the area in case of re-ignition.

Fire Extinguishers must be maintained annually in accordance with local, state and national codes and regulations.  This is a thorough examination of the fire extinguishers mechanical parts, fire extinguishing agent and the expellant gas. 

The technicians at First Defense Fire and Safety are ideally suited to perform the annual maintenance because they have appropriate servicing manuals, tools, recharge materials, parts, lubricants, and the necessary training and experience.

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