Do you have the right Fire Extinguisher and do you know how to use it?
Having a fire extinguisher on hand is required, but the appropriate fire extinguisher must be selected. Extinguisher classification means the letter classification given an extinguisher to designate the class or classes of fire on which an extinguisher will be effective. Extinguisher rating means the numerical rating given to an extinguisher which indicates the extinguishing potential of the unit based on standardized tests. Some extinguishers are rated for more than one class and some are for only one type of fire. Ensure the extinguisher being used is rated for the fire being extinguished.
Class —A fires — involve ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cloth, and some rubber and plastic materials.
Class — B fires — involve flammable or combustible liquids, flammable gases, greases, and some rubber and plastic materials.
Class — C fires — involve energized electrical equipment which requires the use of electrically nonconductive extinguishing
Class —D fires — involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, lithium and potassium.
Training employees to use the unit
Hold the extinguisher and stand about six feet from the fire. Point the nozzle toward the base of the fire and get ready to release the extinguishing agent.
The technique to remember for using an extinguisher is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is known as the P.A.S.S. Technique (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep) and is as follows:
1. Pull out the pin that secures the handle.
2. Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire.
3. Squeeze the handle or triggering mechanism.
4. Sweep the extinguishing agent stream from side to side across the base of the fire until it is completely out. Be alert for re-ignition. If this happens, douse the fire with the agent until the extinguisher is empty. Once the fire is out, carefully back away from the scene. Carefully observe and see if the fire re-ignites. If the blaze cannot be extinguished or it recurs repeatedly, vacate the area immediately.
Keep firefighting equipment in proper working condition. Inspect all portable fire extinguishers monthly and make sure they are charged and ready for use. Many states require fire extinguishers to be inspected and serviced by a professional annually. Keep the appropriate fire extinguishers on hand for the fire hazards found in a particular workplace and ensure workers are trained to determine which extinguishers to use for different types of fires. Follow these guidelines for safe fire extinguisher use.
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