Not all fires are equal, and neither are portable fire extinguishers. A portable fire extinguisher is used to extinguish a fire, at least til firefighters arrive to assess the situation further. When selecting an extinguisher, here are some top portable fire extinguisher FAQs answered:
What are the different classes of fires?
Quite often, the “ABCs” of fire is used when speaking about fire types. Class A, B, and C determine the extinguisher type that should be used for the fire.
Class A Fire
Class A fire involves ordinary combustibles, anything that burns to an ember or ash, materials such as wood, cloth, rubber, paper, vinyl, and plastics.
Class B Fire
Class B fires consist of flammable liquids & gasess, including grease, oils, tars, oil-based paints, gasoline, heptane, propane, natural gas, brake fluids, antifreeze/glycol, etc.
Class C Fire
Class C fire involves energized electrical equipment, and the fire extinguisher agent needs to be a nonconductor of electricity.
What fire extinguisher do I need?
Every business has unique needs that require different fire protection scenarios. For instance, a hotel with a kitchen that uses grease-producing appliances needs a suppression system and various types of extinguishers. The hotel may also require a fire sprinkler system, fire alarm, illuminated exit signs, and more. To best determine what type and size of fire extinguisher you need, consult a certified fire life safety expert. Summit Companies and its subsidiaries offer expert advice to determine what is needed.
Do I need a fire extinguisher?
Portable fire extinguishers are an immediate line of defense against fire. The number and types of fire extinguishers will depend on your building, the business itself, and the level of potential risks. Every state/area has different codes and regulations for fire safety.
The safest bet? Contact your local fire experts at Summit Companies for a consultation. We can ensure you’re up to code with inspections and maintenance, as well as having the proper fire protection for your building.
When should you use a portable fire extinguisher?
First and foremost, it’s essential to protect yourself. If there is any doubt or uncertainty, do not fight the fire. Stay low and avoid breathing the smoke, fumes, or extinguishing agent. If the fire starts to spread or threatens your escape route, evacuate immediately.
Only fight the fire if all the following are true:
- Individuals are aware and evacuating the building.
- The local fire department was called.
- The fire is small and confined to the immediate area.
- You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
- The extinguisher is rated for the type of fire and is in proper working order and fully charged.
- The extinguisher is large enough for the fire at hand.
- You are trained to use the extinguisher and operate it effectively.
Are you looking for fire extinguisher training? Contact our certified experts to set up a training or join the next session.
When should I NOT use a portable fire extinguisher?
When in doubt, do not try to extinguish the fire on your own. There are also other times when you should not fight a fire with a portable extinguisher, including but not limited to:
- The fire is spreading or considered a large fire.
- Your escape route is blocked.
- There is uncertainty about whether the extinguisher is the proper type and in fully working order.
- You are not trained to use the fire extinguisher.
- You are not physically able to operate the extinguisher or need to take time to read the directions.
It’s essential to stay updated on your fire extinguisher inspections and maintenance. Consider that a portable fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense until the fire department arrives. It is not a means of extinguishing large fires. Above all, safety first.
How do I use a portable fire extinguisher?
Another top portable fire extinguisher FAQ is about usage. Become acquainted with the fire extinguishers near your workspace or in your building. In general, fire extinguishers operate the same. An easy way to remember the basics of how to use a stored pressure fire extinguisher is the acronym: PASS.
Pull the ring pin at the top of the extinguisher.
Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the flames. Stay at least 8-10 feet away from the fire.
Squeeze the handle.
Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out.
For complete training, consulting, inspections, repairs, and maintenance, trust the fire extinguisher experts at Summit Companies. Follow us on Facebook for more fire safety tips and resources.