The Importance of Fire Extinguisher Training

Having fire extinguishers in a building will not improve its fire safety unless occupants are trained to use them. Therefore, it is imperative that people undergo appropriate fire extinguisher training specifically designed for the building they are in.

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An effective training program should cover more than the mere basics of how to operate a fire extinguisher. It should empower trainees to feel more confident in identifying sources of fire within the building as well as help them to decide how to deal with fire situations.

Here are some suggestions on what to include in a fire extinguisher training program:

Understanding key fire risks

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The structure and purpose of a building are crucial in determining its fire risks. For example, an office complex would have vastly different sources of fire risks when compared with a hospital. Accordingly, it is important that the training program is tailored to reflect the fire events or scenarios that trainees will likely face.

The objective here is to ensure trainees are able to identify key fire risks within the building, which usually include the kitchen area, sources for electrics or heating. They should also be given the knowledge of what elements work together to ignite and sustain a fire.

Classes of fire and corresponding fire extinguishers

Trainees need to understand that there are different types of fires and not all extinguishers will work on them. If the wrong extinguisher is used, it could actually exacerbate the fire.

The five classes of fire are those involving:

1. Ordinary materials such as wood, paper and cloth

2. Flammable liquids such as gasoline and alcohol

3. Electrical equipment

4. Combustible metals such as magnesium and titanium

5. Vegetable or animal oils

So what are some of the common classes of fire extinguishers and which types of fires can they handle?

• Class A extinguishers are designed to combat common fires
• Class B are used for fuel related fires
• Class E can work for electrical fires
• Class F extinguishers can work on oil or grease related fires.

Click here for more information on which type of fire extinguisher would be best for you.

How to locate fire extinguishers

This part of the program tells trainees where in the building to look for fire extinguishers in the event of an emergency. It is important because it will help them to locate an extinguisher quickly, giving them a better chance of bringing the fire under control.

Trainees should also be taught the skill of identifying whether an extinguisher is sufficiently charged and if there is any damage to prevent it from functioning properly.

How to operate a fire extinguisher

This involves the knowledge of how to aim and use the extinguisher, and when to stop using it. Get Fire Prevention & Safety Training at your location!

Assessing a fire situation

Guidance need to be provided regarding the decision to either fight or abandon a fire. Assessment of a fire situation consists of looking at the size of the fire, whether it will get out of control quickly, the level of heat inside the building, the existence of any thick smoke or fumes and whether exits can be reached easily.

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