Fire extinguishers require regular inspections and maintenance. Refer to the manufacturers recommendations regarding exact details for your extinguisher. Placement, maintenance, and inspections are all very important to ensure that your extinguisher will operate when required.
Take the time at work or at home to familiarize yourself with available extinguishers and for what class of fire they are designed to be used on. The wrong extinguisher on the wrong class of fire can be devastating.
Pull- Step 1, Pull the pin out of the handle. To break the plastic extinguisher tie, twist the pin. These ties are specific to fire extinguishers to hold the pins in, but will also break easily when required to be removed. DO NOT REPLACE THESE TIES WITH REGULAR TWIST TIES.
Aim- Step 2, Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the fire from a safe distance. The distance recommended by manufacturers is generally in writing on the extinguisher itself but may vary.
Squeeze- Step 3, Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher to begin spraying the contents. Fire extinguishers will only be useful on the size of fire that they are rated for. See manufacturer's recommendations.
Sweep- Step 4, Once you begin spraying the contents of the extinguisher at the base of the fire, sweep the nozzle back and forth until fire is completely extinguished.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Multipurpose (ABC) Dry Chemical
Multipurpose (ABC) dry chemical extinguishers contain an ammonium phosphate base which can be used on all types of fires and is the least expensive of the extinguishing agents. The most common size is 2:A-10:B-C and weighs about five pounds.
Wet Chemical (K)
The Class K extinguisher is the ideal choice for use on cooking appliances including deep fat fryers and solid fuel cooking appliances. They contain a low PH potassium acetate base. The extinguishing agent discharges as a fine mist which helps prevent grease splash and fire reflash while cooling the appliance.
Clean agent fire extinguishers do not leave a residue and are rated ABC or BC depending on size. Halon 1211 is a clean agent that is commonly found around computer systems and electronic equipment. Because of environmental concerns, fire extinguishing clean agents known as halocarbons are now the recommended alternative.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
CO2 extinguishers may be used on most mechanical and electrical fires. Because they are less effective on ordinary combustible (class A) fires, CO2 fire extinguishers are usually only rated BC depending on the size of the extinguisher.
Pressurized water extinguishers are designed for use on ordinary combustible (class A) fires only. Use of water on fires involving flammable liquids and energized electrical equipment can be very dangerous.