How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

May 23, 2021 | From The CEO

We are growing steadily; industries are popping out everywhere. From corporations, small-scale businesses. We are now acquiring assets that help us with each and every task. We invented equipment that serves us and makes our day-to-day lighter. We invest a lot in this equipment as we plan for our future. Furniture varies from wooden design, from comfortable cushion type sofa. From an industrial air-conditioning system to a small humble electric ceiling fan. From a walk-in cooling refrigerator to a bar-type small personal ref.

Even more so, in our dream home. We invest a lot to make sure we live a comfortable life. As a homeowner, we are expected to know how to use everything in our house. From the stovetop, the light switches, dishwasher, our TV down to our shower heater and air conditioning system. It is critical to know how all these functions and the use of all of these. More so, how these items impact our day-to-day living condition. But these are trivial, we know this like the back of our hand because we grew up using these things. You probably used the TV set up a thousand times before you even started living alone.

But there is one piece of equipment at home that we, as homeowners, neglect to understand how to use. The small red cylindrical thing usually has a black nozzle. The Fire Extinguisher. Yes, admit it or not, although a part of the city permits that we are required to have at least one per household, we rarely even know how to use it, and we might not even know that the thing expires.

In the early 1800’s inventor, Captain Manby, introduced a handheld fire extinguisher, while in 1872, Thomas Martin patented the fire extinguisher model that he invented.

It is important for us to know how exactly the fire extinguisher works especially when there is a fire at home, and how you would feel comfortable fending off your belongings from a very unpredictable disaster. All the house equipment mentioned above are fire hazards, electricity and anything that uses high temperature can cause fire and there are only a couple of things in your house that can help you with it. Hoping that you never have to use it, you need to know a simple way to use it and what types of Fire extinguishers are available for you.

They are simply labeled A, B, C, and D.

Class A Extinguishers are suitable for ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper while Class B’s are used for liquids such as grease and gasoline. The Class Cs are more effective for electrically energized fires meanwhile, Class D extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals.

In case of fire, you need to stay calm and focus on turning off the fire, seek out assistance before trying to turn off the fire. If ever the fire gets out of hand or too big it is always better to have a helping hand.

In case of this kind of emergency, it is advisable that we seek out the nearest fire exits, muster up the courage and secure a straight path from you and the exit regardless of the smoke and heat around you.

Here is the advisable way to use your FIRE EXTINGUISHER

There is a highly suggested flow that we need to follow on properly using a fire extinguisher. The PASS method was created to make sure we can easily fight off any fire, using a fire extinguisher.

1.       PULL THE PIN – The safety pin is located in between the discharge lever and the carrying handle. If the pin is intact, the levers cannot be used and locked. This will break the tamper seal.

2.       AIM Down – In contrast to what we see in tv and movies, where others fling the nozzle everywhere, it is more advisable and truly effective to aim it on the base of the fire and everything near the base. This will ensure that the fire will not spread anymore and will not grow any bigger. Be careful in handling the nozzle, it sometimes gets extremely cold and can hurt your skin.

3.       SQUEEZE – Assuming that you were able to pull the pin and the nozzle, squeeze the lever tightly. This will ensure continuous discharge.

4.       SWEEP – securing the nozzle is aimed at the base, sweeping the extinguisher from side-to-side motion, making sure all ground is covered.

Many people were successful in putting out a small fire using this method, never attempting to tackle a fire that is beyond your personal capability.

If the fire re-ignited, repeat the process. If the fire is still not manageable, secure your safety by evacuating and stepping out of the room or house and call the fire department.

Here are other safeguarding tips in case of fire.

Make sure that before using the extinguisher, you have secured a route towards the fire exit. Keep you back directly to the exit location. While sweeping the base of the fire using the extinguisher, do it while you step back so you can turn off the fire while you retreat from it. This will make sure you will be safe from harm if ever the fire went out of your hand.

Keep a safe distance from the fire. Make sure you are at least 8 feet away from the base of the fire. This is to make sure that your body is at a safe distance before you do the P.A.S.S. method.

Be attentive to your surroundings. Keep your eyes on things that cause the fire to reignite. Or things that might hinder you from escaping safely.

Leave valuables behind. This is one of the most common reasons why a person can get caught in the fire. Always remember that although the items are valuable, your life and your family’s safety are more important. Do not attempt to salvage any valuables if the fire has already spread out.

Cover Your Nose, smoke inhalation is common in this kind of scenario, it is advisable that we cover our nose while we are evacuating the premises.

If the fire cannot be extinguished; please evacuate immediately. If the fire is something that cannot be controlled by your extinguisher. It is always safer to leave the premises and allow the professional to handle the situation.

Call the fire department. If the fire is way out of your capability to put out. Allow the fire department to engage the fire. And stay where it is safe for you and your family.

Have the fire department survey the whole area. They are more knowledgeable in finding out where the fire started and making sure that there is no amber that might reignite the fire. They are expected to check every crevice of the house to make sure there will be no cause of another fire.

Used or emptied fire extinguishers are to be replaced or recharged. To do this, you can simply go back from the dealers where you got your extinguisher and have them recharge it. This is cheaper rather than getting another one. You can also approach the fire department to have your half-empty canister be recharged.

 Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Your canister should be regularly checked to ensure that it is available for you to use. While visual checking and inspecting are helpful, hiring professionals will always be the optimum option in maintaining your canister. An annual professional inspection can make sure that your extinguisher’s mechanism is at 100% capability. The inspectors would be able to record any faulty part or advise you properly if your canister needs to be replaced or needs to be recharged.

Never place your fire extinguisher in space where furniture and any other household item might block them, like on doors or behind the cupboard, do not hang your coats on your fire extinguisher. Remember that you should be able to grab the item quickly in case of any emergency.

Make sure that it is properly mounted and away from any heat source. It is more advisable that we place it near the fire exits.

Always check if your fire extinguisher has the correct pressure to ensure maximum performance. On extinguishers provided with a gauge, the needle should be in the green zone–not too high and not too low. The pressure between 185 – 205 psi (per square inch) is the recommended level of pressure for each canister. If there is not enough pressure on your canister, please reach out to your dealer or your fire department to get your canister repressurized.

Although an extinguisher does not have an official expiration date, they have a typical life span of 10-12 years. Remember that life expectancy depends on a few factors. Fire extinguishers should be weekly tested according to the user’s manual. The manufacture date is usually on the label or tag of the fire extinguisher canister. The extinguisher is properly pressurized and ready to use if the gauge is green or the pin indicator pops back up when pushed.