Fire Extinguishers

We've all seen fire extinguishers in schools, public buildings, and even at people's homes. Fire
extinguishers are excellent tools for putting out fires and saving lives, but many people don't know how to use them properly and effectively. It is important to know that there are different extinguishers for different types of fires, and how to handle an extinguisher. Read below and you will always be prepared in the event of a fire.

Fire Classification
Fires are classified by what type of material is burning.

Class A fires refer to most fires that catch in ordinary objects. Ordinary objects include clothing, toys, carpets, and papers.

Class B fires refer to fires that are based in flammable liquids such as grease, oil, or gasoline. It is important to remember that grease and oil can be found in most kitchens, and also in some bathroom products such as lotions and hair balms. Garages are hot spots for Class B fires, as there can easily be grease, gas, or oil on the ground, in tanks, or on rags.

Class C fires occur when electrical equipment such as wires and electrical appliances catch fire.

Class D fires are less common in houses as the other classes of fire. They refer to fires that catch in metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. Water or liquid chemicals generally do not extinguish these fires. They often require an extinguishing dry powder to put them out.

Using the Right Extinguisher
Once you have determined the class of fire, it is important that you use the proper extinguisher. All classifications are shown on the faceplate on the front side of the extinguisher. Some extinguishers are marked with multiple fire classes such as AB, BC and ABC. These extinguishers are capable of putting out more than one class of fire. For this reason, most people keep ABC fire extinguishers so that no thinking has to be done in the event of a fire.

How to Use an Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are simple to use. Simply remember the acronym "PASS" and you will know the steps to effectively putting out a fire:

P: Pull the pin. You will find a pin in the bottom part of the nozzle. Yank it out.

A: Aim the extinguisher nozzle. The most effective place to aim for is at the bottom of the flames, where the combustibles are.

S: Squeeze trigger. Keep the extinguisher upright as you spray.

S: Sweep the extinguisher from side to side. Be sure to spray the entire area of the fire.

If you forget these steps, simply read the directions on the back of the extinguisher, or just use your common sense. And remember: if the fire gets out of control, get away immediately and call the fire department to come put the fire out.

-- Bailey Stoler

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