We’ve all seen fire extinguishers in our homes, workplaces and even in public areas. But do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?
We’re going to discuss how to use a fire extinguisher safely and ensure you are prepared for an unfortunate emergency!
How To Use A Fire Extinguisher: PASS Technique
The PASS Fire Extinguisher technique should be common knowledge to EVERYONE!
PASS is the acronym used to describe the four essential steps of operating a fire extinguisher.
The first step is to pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin is in place to prevent the handle from being accidently pressed. Immediately test the extinguisher before approaching the fire to ensure it is working correctly.
Stand at a safe distance from the fire and aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handles to release the fire extinguishing agent. To stop, release handles. Make sure you are at a safe distance before releasing the handles as the fire could flare up again.
Sweep the nozzle of the fire extinguisher from side to side maintaining your aim at the base of the fire.
A step-by-step video can be seen here
Know How To Use Your Fire Extinguisher
Knowing how to use fire extinguishers can be the difference between life and death scenarios.
A fire always starts out small. It can cause vast damage to property and endanger lives if not handled properly within the first few minutes of ignition.
If you have a well-maintained fire extinguisher and you also know how to use it, potential mishaps can be prevented.
Understanding Different Types Of Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers come with a coloured band to denote their contents.
The 5 common types of fire extinguishers in Australia are:
- All Red/no band (contains water)
- Blue (Foam)
- Black (Carbon dioxide)
- White (Dry Chemical Powder)
- Oatmeal (Wet Chemical)
You must keep in mind that each of these different types of fire extinguishers is designed for different classes of fire.
Common Mistakes And Misconceptions
Since most people have only seen a fire extinguisher put to use in the movies, they aren’t aware of the different types of fire extinguishers and their individual capabilities.
It is a common misconception that all fire extinguishers are the same. It is extremely important to understand that this is not the case and using the incorrect fire extinguisher can often cause further damage.
For instance, if you used an Air/Water extinguisher to extinguish an electrical fire (Class E fire), you will likely be causing even more damage.
More information on the different fire classes in Australia can be found here
Additional Tips About Fire Extinguishers
- Under AS 1851 all fire extinguishers must be inspected every 6 months.
- All fire extinguishers must be pressure tested after 5 years or after they have been discharged.
- Always place your fire extinguishers in a readily accessible location. Find out more here
- If you are in doubt about safety while operating a fire extinguisher, get out.
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