A portable fire extinguisher can be your first line of defense against a fire. Using the right type and knowing how to use your fire extinguisher is critically important to prevent personal injury and costly damage. But most importantly putting out the fire.
Understanding the Four Classes of Fire Extinguishers
There are four basic types of portable fire extinguishers in use today. These are water, foam, dry chemical and carbon dioxide, known as CO2.
There are also four classifications which are based on which type of materials it will burn:
Class A Fire Extinguisher – will put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, rubber, some plastics and foam materials.
Class B Fire Extinguisher – is used for flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, tar, oil-based paint, oil and other volatile combustible liquids.
Class C Fire Extinguisher – are suitable for electrically energized wiring or components of electrical system fires only.
Class D Fire Extinguisher – these are designed for combustible flammable metals such as sodium or lithium.
Class K Fire Extinguisher – this is for kitchen fires involving cooking oil and fat.
Multipurpose extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more then one class such as A-B, B-C or A-B-C.
How to use your Fire Extinguisher
Once you have purchased your new fire extinguisher and have read the directions you should be prepared in case you need to put a fire out. Most types of fire extinguishers use the P.A.S.S. technique:
P. Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher in order to break the tamper seal.
A. Aim the fire extinguisher low, with the nozzle pointed at the base of the fire.
S. Squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher to release the extinguishing agent.
S. Sweep the nozzle from side to side while pointed at the base of the fire until it is extinguished.