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Knowing Your Fire Extinguishers Can Save Lives

by | Feb 3, 2020 | Fire Safety

 

Everyone dreads the fire alarm practise, especially when it’s cold, raining (sometimes even snowing), and we have a lot of work we would much prefer to be getting on with. However, it is an annoyance we all forbear as we understand how crucial they are in keeping everybody in the workplace safe.

You may remember your fire safety induction on your first day in your new role, where fire doors were pointed out, and you were introduced to the fire marshal.

However, a lot of companies don’t train all staff members on fire extinguisher use. If a small fire did ignite in your workplace, would you know which fire extinguisher to pick up, and how to use it? Of course, remaining safe is of the utmost importance, but if you are able to tackle a small fire, you must use the right fire extinguisher.

Is It Illegal To Not Have A Fire Extinguisher?

A workplace is legally required to house at least two Class A fire extinguishers. Of course, additional fire extinguishers should be purchased depending on the type of work the company carries out.

Do You Need Fire Extinguishers If You Have A Sprinkler System?

It is a myth that sprinkler systems mean your workplace does not need to house fire extinguishers. The FIA (Fire Industry Association) believes that it is a rare occurrence to find a fire-related workplace situation where a portable extinguisher is not needed.

Fire Extinguisher Types

Every fire extinguisher within the workplace will have a label on it that informs the user on its ‘type’. Additionally, each ‘type’ of extinguisher has a label that is colour coordinated to its use.

Different Types Of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguisher type

Fire extinguisher image

Fire extinguisher class

Buy

CO2 fire extinguisher

B

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/co2-fire-extinguisher-2132-p.asp
Foam fire extinguisher

A

B

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/foam-extinguishers-2129-p.asp
Water fire extinguisher

A

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/9-litre-water-extinguisher-ews9-2145-p.asp
Powder fire extinguisher (not to be confused with a dry powder fire extinguisher)

A

B

C

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/powder-extinguisher-2149-p.asp

Fire Extinguisher Colour

A workplace fire causes a fast-paced, high-stressed situation. Understanding the coloured panels on the fire extinguishers may save valuable seconds when trying to contain a fire.

Fire Extinguishers By Colour

Fire extinguisher type

Fire extinguisher image

Fire extinguisher colour (label)

Buy

CO2 fire extinguisher

Red background with a black panel at the top

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/co2-fire-extinguisher-2132-p.asp
Foam fire extinguisher

Red background with a cream panel at the top

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/foam-extinguishers-2129-p.asp
Water fire extinguisher

Red

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/9-litre-water-extinguisher-ews9-2145-p.asp
Powder fire extinguisher (not to be confused with a dry powder fire extinguisher)

Red background with a blue panel at the top

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/powder-extinguisher-2149-p.asp

Fire Extinguisher Use

It is crucial that you use the right fire extinguisher when tackling a fire. Use the wrong extinguisher, and you may make the fire worse. If you do not know what extinguisher should be used on a particular type of fire, you should refrain from trying to tackle it yourself.

What Are The Dangers Of Using The Wrong Fire Extinguisher On A Fire?

  • CO2 and water fire extinguishers make metal fires worse
  • Water fire extinguishers should never be used on an electrical fire
  • Foam fire extinguishers make electrical fires worse, as they are essentially water-based

These are just a few dangers surrounding misuse.

What Fire Extinguishers Are Used For What?

Fire extinguisher type

Fire extinguisher image

Fire extinguisher use

Buy

CO2 fire extinguisher

Large computer servers

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/co2-fire-extinguisher-2132-p.asp
Foam fire extinguisher

Solids & liquids (including petrol & paint)

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/foam-extinguishers-2129-p.asp
Water fire extinguisher

Fires that involve organic solid materials, including:

●     Wood

●     Paper

●     Cloth

●     Coal

●     Plastics

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/9-litre-water-extinguisher-ews9-2145-p.asp
Powder fire extinguisher (not to be confused with a dry powder fire extinguisher)

Multi-purpose, use on:

●     Liquids (grease, oil, fats, petrol, paint)

●     Gas fires

https://www.safetyservicesdirect.com/powder-extinguisher-2149-p.asp

How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

You should only tackle a fire when it is safe to do so, and you have a good understanding of which fire extinguisher to use, and how to use it. Put your own safety first and foremost at all times. Only tackle small fires, larger fires should be left to the professionals.

Fire Extinguisher Instructions:

  • Raise the alarm
  • Ensure there is a safe evacuation route
  • Find the right extinguish for the fire
  • Pull the seal
  • Aim the horn at the bottom of the fire (if using a CO2 extinguisher, be careful not to touch the horn as this gets extremely cold)
  • Squeeze the handle
  • Move the horn from side to side until the fire is out

Remember only to use a fire extinguisher in the early stages of a fire. If the bottle becomes empty, or the fire grows, evacuate immediately through your safe evacuation route.

For further assistance with fire safety in your workplace, we provide Fire Safety Online Training, Fire Safety Equipment and Fire Fighting Safety Signs. You can also call us on 0121 756 7249 to find out more about how we can assist you with writing your Fire Risk Assessment.

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