Knowing how to properly select and use a fire extinguisher is an important skill for all home owners and apartment residents. The proper fire extinguisher can extinguish a small fire very rapidly. The following information can provide some useful guidelines.
Selecting a Fire Extinguisher
Different materials require different extinguishing agents. Therefore, fire extinguishers are labeled either with an A, B, C, depending on the type of fire they will put out.
Class A: Class A extinguishers will put out fires that occur in ordinary materials such as wood, paper, upholstery or clothing.
Class B: Class B extinguishers will put out flammable liquid fires, such as a grease fire in the kitchen or an oil fire in the garage. Never use water or a Class A extinguisher on flammable liquid fires.
Class C: Class C extinguishers are used in locations where fires may involve electricity, such as on burning wires or electrical equipment that might be 'live'. These extinguishers do not conduct electricity. Never use water or a Class A extinguisher on live wires or electrical equipment.
Multiple Class: Many extinguishers carry a 'BC' because they can be used on both flammable liquid and electrical fires. (Class B, C and Multiple Class Extinguishers will work on Class A fires but are less effective than Class A Extinguishers on deep seated Class A fires.)
Mounting a Home Extinguisher
Mount your extinguisher in a location that is easy to reach during an emergency. The best location is often next to a door or entrance so you will not have to pass flames or smoke in order to reach it.
Using a Home Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is NO substitute for the Fire Department. One third of all people injured by fire are hurt while trying to control it.
- Call 911 First. Then use your extinguisher. The Fire Department will be on the way in case the fire cannot be controlled.
- Only use an extinguisher on small fires.
- Be sure that you can get out fast and that the fire is small and not spreading.
- Stand back 6 Feet and use the PASS System:
Pull the Pin.
Aim at the base of the flames.
Squeeze the handle.
Sweep from side to side.
If the fire does not go out quickly, close the door to the room and exit the premises promptly. Meet the fire department in front and direct them to the location of the fire.