Knowing how to operate a fire extinguisher safely is a skill that everyone should acquire. Careful maintenance and proper use of fire extinguishers can prevent damage to lives and properties. Residential, commercial, industrial and public properties are required to keep fire extinguishers in good working order by using fire extinguisher storage cabinets or boxes. Fire can be brought under control with a prompt response within the initial minutes of ignition, and it can help you buy time until firefighters arrive.
Properly Using a Fire Extinguisher:
Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher properly allows an individual to respond confidently in fire emergencies. There are different types of portable fire extinguishers, which can be identified by their colour, coding, and labelling. Knowing what type of fire extinguisher you need to use for a specific fire type is essential. For example, a water extinguisher must never be used on any fire that involves electrical equipment.
Here are four basic steps for using a modern portable fire extinguisher, which are described with the acronym PASS:
The first step of using a fire extinguisher is pulling the pin at the top and breaking its seal. When an extinguisher is stored in a fire extinguisher storage box, the pin prevents the handle from being accidentally pressed. Test the extinguisher immediately, aiming away from the operator This will ensure that the extinguisher is in working condition and enable the operator to know how far the stream travels.
Approach the fire from a safe distance and aim the extinguisher’s nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the extinguisher handles together to discharge the agent inside. Release the handles to stop the discharge.
As you approach the fire, sweep the nozzle from side to side, keeping the nozzle’s direction at the base of the flames. Once the A Class fire is extinguished, identify and approach the smouldering hot spots that could reignite the fuel.
Different Class of Fires and Respective Extinguishers:
There is a total of six classes of fires; let’s take a look:
Class A fires:
Class A fires are caused by the ignition of flammable solids, such as wood, paper, and fabric.
Class B fires:
A fire caused by flammable liquids such as petrol, turpentine or paint is considered a Class B fire.
Class C fires:
A fire involving flammable gases such as LPG, hydrogen, butane or methane is a Class C fire.
Class D fires:
A fire caused by combustible metals such as magnesium, aluminium or potassium is in Class D.
Class E fires:
A fire that involves electrical equipment is in Class E. Once the electrical equipment is removed from the site, the fire changes the class.
Class F fires:
Class F fire is caused by cooking oils, typically a chip-pan fire.
Types of Fire Extinguishers and their Applications:
Class A water extinguishers are the most popular across Australia. All water extinguishers are painted in rich red colour, and they don’t have any colour band wrapped around the top of the cylinders. Water fire extinguishers are for Class A fires only and should not be used on Class B or Class C fires.
Dry Chemical Powder Extinguisher:
Dry chemical powder extinguishers are also known as DCP, BE and ABE fire extinguishers. Dry Chemical Powder Extinguishers (ABE) are effective on Class A, Class B, and Class E fires, and they extinguish the fire by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle. BE dry chemical extinguishers are only for Class B and Class E fires. Dry chemical extinguishers can be identified with their red body with a white colour band wrapped around on top of the cylinder.
Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher:
Carbon dioxide extinguishers put out the fire by removing the oxygen element of the fire triangle and removing the heat with its cold discharge. They can be identified by their red bodies and a black colour band wrapped around the top of the cylinders. These are used on Class E and Class B fires and are usually ineffective on Class A fires. All carbon dioxide extinguishers must be serviced every six months and are required to undergo hydrostatic testing and recharge every five years.
Foam extinguishers are used for extinguishing Class A and Class B fires in Australia. To identify a foam extinguisher, look for a cylinder in rich red colour with a blue band colour wrapped around the top of it. They extinguish the fire by forming a thick layer over the top of the burning substance and stopping the oxygen access.
Wet Chemical Extinguisher:
Wet chemical extinguishers contain a solution of potassium, which smothers the fire and eliminates heat by creating a barrier between the fuel elements and oxygen. They are used for extinguishing Class F fires in commercial cooking operations and also for Class A fires. They can be used indoors and outdoors and can be identified with their rich red colour with an OATMEAL colour band wrapped around on top of the cylinder.
Why Choose Plastic Fire Extinguisher Cabinets?
Plastic fire extinguisher cabinets are lightweight, sturdy, and provide optimum protection to the fire extinguishers. These cabinets ensure the extinguishers remain safe and in perfect working condition when needed.
Keeping fire extinguishers in working condition is vital to handle fire emergencies effectively in residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Constant and more prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, rain, moisture, and other elements can cause damage to the fire extinguisher, so storing appropriately in a cabinet can prevent this. Storing fire extinguishers in cabinets also prevents any tampering.
Plastic fire extinguisher storage cabinets are lighter, easy to install and have low shipping costs compared to wood and steel cabinets. Advanced fire extinguishers cabinets can be customised according to your premise’s specific requirements, such as locking options and a plexiglass front display. Industrial-grade fire extinguisher cabinets are made using high-density polyethylene, making them highly durable and resistant to heavy impacts. Plastic cabinets are easy to maintain as they don’t rust and are easy to clean.
As a leading manufacturer and distributor of fire safety equipment in Australia, FSP Oz Products offers a wide range of fire safety equipment for various industries. We use advanced manufacturing technology to deliver the finest quality products at competitive prices.
Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is essential in handling emergencies. At the same time, it’s also vital to know what type of fire extinguisher should be used for the specific Class of fire. To ensure the optimum functionality of the fire extinguishers, they should be stored in heavy-duty plastic cabinets, which are a more affordable and reliable option compared to wood and steel cabinets.
For more details on fire safety equipment, kindly contact FSP Oz Products.