Fire extinguisher safety is, unfortunately, somewhat lax in many homes and businesses. While most would agree about the necessity of having a fire extinguisher on hand to take care of any blazes, far too many purchase a single unit and the leave it at that. The truth is, fire extinguishers graded for various types of blazes need to be scattered around problem areas of both a business and a home, and they need to be purchased anew after they’ve reached their ideal lifespan.
The other thing that can’t go overlooked is practice with the extinguisher itself. This is problematic, as you can’t really use your own fire extinguisher to practice on, as this will quickly drain its supply of fire suppressant materials. But what you can do is know the precise steps to take in order to squelch a blaze, and that’s possible by consulting some of the tips from the District Chief of North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection in a new report.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are multiple types of fire extinguishers, each designed to take care of a different type of blaze. Some are suited to electrical fires, others work on grease fires, and still others work on combustible fires. Understandably, most homeowners are not keen on purchasing two or three of each to distribute throughout their residences. That’s why your best bet may be investing in units that have been specifically created to handle multiple types of fires. The label should outline what types of fire it’s capable of dealing with, and you should also verify the mark of an independent tester is present, as this further ensures your extinguisher is capable of carrying out its function.
You should understand proper usage long before a fire breaks out. If a fire extinguisher is required, you’ll first want to pull the pin like you would on a grenade. The nozzle should point away from you and others during this step, and it should stay pointed this away from you while you unlatch the lock.
Once it actually comes time to direct the extinguisher toward a fire, aim low. The base is your target, as the rest of the blaze will follow if you can extinguish this portion of the fire. When you pull the lever, do so slowly, exerting a steady amount of pressure to promote a constant flow. You can then move the extinguisher back and forth across the affected area to make sure you’re taking care of the full breadth of the fire.
Of course, there may be a time when a fire grows beyond the control of an extinguisher. At those times, you need to put your family’s exit plan into practice, getting everyone out and calling the authorities to fight the blaze.