When and How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Alongside Fire Prevention Month, at SERVPRO we strive to educate and provide information to our Mine Line community and customers on fire prevention all year round. Smoke and fire damage is something that is inevitable in the event that a fire occurs, but here at SERVPRO we are here to help. In the event of a small fire, here are some tips on choosing and using the correct fire extinguishers for each specific fire.
When to Use a Fire Extinguisher:
- Have I alerted others in the building that there’s a fire?
- Has someone called the fire department?
- Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
- Is the fire small and contained in a single object (like a pan or a wastebasket)?
- Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
- Do I have a clear escape route?
Only when all the answers to the questions above are answered “yes’ use a fire extinguisher. If you are uncertain whether or not it is safe to use a fire extinguisher when answering the questions leave the building and immediately call 911.
Types of Fire Extinguishers:
- Type A is for the use of ordinary materials like cloth, wood, and paper.
- Type B is used on combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, oil and oil based paints.
- Type C is used with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged in.
- Type D is used with flammable metals
- Type K is used with vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats in cooking appliances.
While there are five different types of fire extinguishers, there are also multipurpose fire extinguishers. Extinguishers could be labeled “B-C” or “A-B-C” that cover a broader range of uses and can be found at improvement stores.
It is stated in the U.S. fire administration website for those who are operating a fire extinguisher to use the PASS method.
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.