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Tips for Using a Fire Extinguisher

Posted on: July 30, 2010

Knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher is one of the most important steps in fire safety. Different types of fire extinguishers may have slight variations in in directions, and varying amounts of extinguishing agent available, so it is important to be familiar with the type of extinguisher available in your office, restaurant or other commercial building. Throughout Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) and Washington, DC, most businesses even require that their employees take a fire safety class so in the event of a fire, people will know how to extinguish the fire or exit the building in the safest, quickest way possible. These classes are typically provided by fire protection companies and fire departments in the area.

Fire Extinguisher Basics

Fire extinguishers are cylinders filled with compressed extinguishing agent. There are four different types of fire extinguishers: Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D. Fire extinguishers are divided into these categories based on the type of fire that is being extinguished and the type of extinguishing agent needed to put out that fire. It is important to use the appropriate extinguisher in the event of a fire because of how quickly a fire can spread. For example, if you have a fire that started in the chemical laboratory, you will need to use a fire suppression agent that is much stronger than water.

A well kown acronym P.A.S.S. is used to represent the most basic steps for operating a fire extinguisher.

  • P – Pull the Pin
  • A – Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base or source of the flame. It is important to attack the fire at the source, not at the top of the flame, in order to keep the fire from spreading.
  • S – Squeeze the lever slowly while holding the extinguisher upright. By squeezing the lever you are releasing the gas under high amounts of pressure. By releasing it slowly, you can better control your aim. When the fire is extinguished, release the lever and the discharge of fire suppressant agent will cease.
  • S – Sweep the extinguisher from side to side covering all areas of the fire with the extinguishing agent until the fire is completely out. Make sure to stand at a safe distance from the fire while operating the extinguisher and wait a few seconds to see if the area reignites.

If you’re in the Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) or Washington, DC area and need a reliable fire protection company to test, recharge or supply your office with commercial fire extinguishers, contact Guardian Fire Protection today.

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