Fires have many different classes and require different methods to put them out safely and effectively. Having a range of fire extinguishers in the home or the workplace will allow you to tackle most outbreaks should you feel it is safe to do so. A fire needs fuel, air and heat; to remove one of these elements with an extinguisher will put out the fire effectively and safely if used correctly.
Classes of Fire
Class A fires consist of solid fuel such as wood, paper and plastic. These are common and are often started by cigarettes or unattended candles in the home. Class B fires consist of flammable liquids such as fuel. Class C fires are those which contain flammable gas; propane gas canisters and gas oven fires would fall under this category. Class D covers metal fires, and Class E consists of electrical apparatus such as plug sockets and chargers that have burnt through. Many class F fires in the home are started by deep fat fryers, which are made worse when tackled with water. These are sparked by flammable oils and fats and are difficult to tackle.
Which Extinguisher to Use?
Water extinguishers work well for Class A fires. They are generally cheap but should not be used on electrical, fat or flammable liquid fires, as they can conduct electricity and cause the fat to explode. Foam extinguishers safely tackle Class A and B fires. Because they are more versatile, they tend to cost more. However, they are a good solution if space is an issue. CO2 extinguishers are used to safely tackle liquid and electrical fires, although you must be aware that a live electrical supply can reignite the fire and so they cannot guarantee that the fire is out until the electrical supply has been turned off safely. Finally dry powder variants can be used on Class A, B, C and D fires. Again, because of the versatility of these type of extinguishers, they tend to be more expensive and are only really required when flammable gases and metals are present.
While it is clearly not a fire extinguisher, a fire blanket is a useful piece of equipment to have in the kitchen. Not only can they be used to combat fires containing fat and oil on your kitchen stove, they can also be used to douse someone who has caught on fire by cutting off the fires air supply.
PASS is a useful acronym to assist with using a fire extinguisher. It stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. First off, you must pull the lock pin from the head of the extinguisher, then aim the nozzle towards the base of the flames, squeeze the handle and sweep the areas to douse the fuel and stop the fire.Share
8 July 2016
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