Fire ex­tin­guisher know-how

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY -

Fire ex­tin­guish­ers are an im­por­tant safety com­po­nent in any home or build­ing. They can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween a dev­as­tat­ing fire or a mi­nor in­ci­dent. Al­though a fire ex­tin­guisher in the hands of a trained adult can be a life- and prop­erty-sav­ing tool, many peo­ple are not prop­erly skilled in the use of fire ex­tin­guish­ers.

A large por­tion of the pub­lic has not re­ceived train­ing on fire ex­tin­guisher use and when to use them. Some­times the use of the wrong ex­tin­guisher can ex­ac­er­bate a fire, as there are dif­fer­ent fire ex­tin­guish­ers for dif­fer­ent types of fires. Learn­ing when and where to use an ex­tin­guisher can be a mat­ter of life and death.

Type of Ex­tin­guisher

Not all fires are alike, and fires started from dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als re­quire the use of dif­fer­ent ex­tin­guish­ing agents to safely and quickly put the fire out. There are five dif­fer­ent types of ex­tin­guish­ers, and gen­er­ally each will fea­ture a sym­bol to show the ap­pli­ca­ble fire on which they can be used.

Class A: These are used on or­di­nary sub­stances, like cloth, wood, pa­per, and plas­tics.

Class B: These ex­tin­guish­ers are used on fires that fea­ture flammable liq­uids, such as oil-based paints or gaso­line.

Class C: These ex­tin­guish­ers are used on elec­tri­cal equip­ment, such as tools or ap­pli­ances that are plugged in.

Class D: Com­monly found in spe­cific fac­to­ries, these ex­tin­guish­ers are used on flammable me­tals.

Class K: Com­bustible cook­ing ma­te­ri­als, like an­i­mal oils and fats, can be ex­tin­guished with this agent. They are com­monly found in com­mer­cial kitchens, but are now in­fil­trat­ing res­i­den­tial mar­kets as well.

Mul­ti­pur­pose: Some ex­tin­guish­ers com­bine dif­fer­ent agents so they are ap­pli­ca­ble for a range of fires.

When to Use a Fire Ex­tin­guisher

Small fires may be smoth­ered with an ex­tin­guisher. If the fire has spread or is al­ready large in size, it’s likely only a trained fire­fighter can han­dle the blaze. Only use a fire ex­tin­guisher in these cir­cum­stances.

1. The fire is small and con­tained.

2. You have al­ready called the fire depart­ment.

3. There is lit­tle chance of be­ing con­sumed by toxic smoke.

4. You can es­cape safely if nec­es­sary.

5. The fire is not be­tween you and the es­cape route.

6. You are phys­i­cally able to carry its weight and ex­ert the nec­es­sary pres­sure to op­er­ate it.

Fire ex­tin­guish­ers should be rou­tinely in­spected and main­tained to en­sure they will be ef­fec­tive. Some need to be shaken to keep the dry chem­i­cals from set­tling. Oth­ers need to have the pres­sure at the cor­rect level. An ex­tin­guisher may need to be recharged or re­placed if it is dam­aged.

In­di­vid­u­als can talk with fire­fight­ers about pos­si­ble train­ing cour­ses in the use of fire ex­tin­guish­ers. This will help a per­son know the cor­rect way to han­dle and ac­ti­vate an ex­tin­guisher should it need to be used.

(Source: Metro Cre­ative)


Left to right: Syl­vain Par­enteau, Jeff Gar­rett, Ja­son Smith, Mar­tin Ouel­let, Steve Faucher and Hugo Fou­quette

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