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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

I fell into a burning Ring of Fire,
I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher
and it burns, burns, burns, the Ring of Fire.
- “Ring Of Fire” lyrics, Johnny Cash
To use a Fire Extinguisher, remember PASS:
Pull the Pin
Aim at the Base
Squeeze the Lever
Sweep from side to side.
Most extinguishers have a pull pin or ring to prevent accidental discharge. Begin by pulling out that pin. Next aim at the bottom of the fire. Blowing away the flames at the top of a fire is pointless when there’s a hot base of burning material that keeps generating more flames. You want to cool and smother the fuel of the fire. Now squeeze the lever slowly to shoot out the “foam”. Extinguishers empty quickly (about 10 seconds) so aim wisely and well – don’t rush it; don’t panic. And don’t shoot just at one spot; sweep back and forth to cover the entire base of the fire.
If the heat of the fire is too hot for you get near, then the fire is too big for your extinguisher. Call 9-1-1 before trying to put out a fire so help is on the way. Leave yourself an exit, don’t allow the fire to surround you and trap you.
Be sure you’re using the right kind of extinguishers. Most home types are rated ABC and use a chemical foam as the agent.
A – wood, paper and normal combustibles. Water works well here
B – Oil, grease or fuel fires. Never use water (Oil & Water don’t mix!). Burning oil will just float atop water or spatter and spread.
C – electrical fires. Again, no water – you could shock yourself.
Once the fire is out, don't walk away! Watch the area for a few minutes in case it re-ignites.
Don’t forget to buy a new extinguisher or recharge your old one immediately after use.
Bottom Line
Practice with an old extinguisher to get the feel of it. CERT provides hands-on fire training as so some fire departments. Don’t wait for a real fire to be your first time using an extinguisher.

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