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Methods to operate fire extinguishers

Updated on October 19, 2010

How to use fire extinguishers

It is very important for everyone of us to know about operation of fire extinguishers. In case of an emergency, we can save precious life and property if we know how to use fire extinguishers. There are number of fire extinguishers used on different type of fires.

Types of fire

Class A: this includes fire on papers, textiles, wood, rubber and plastic materials. It more often accures at home.

Class B: it is associated with flammable liquids like petrol, oil, paints, solvents and other oil-based products. Due to flammable materials this kind of fire is most dangerous. It spreads quickly over the area of flammable material.

Class C: this type of fire starts due to short circuiting in electrical appliances, wires and switches.

Class D: this type of fire is very rare and not usually occures at home. Flammable metals are medium of this fire.

PASS ( For quick refference)

1.    Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher.

2.    Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames.

3.    Squeeze the lever slowly.

4.    Sweep from side to side.

Fire extinguishers and their use According to fire types

Water Extinguishers Class A ( Color Red)

These can be used on any type of fire except flammable liquids and electrical fire. Just aim the face at the base of flames and move it across the affected area. Start from floor to upward. Make sure every part of fire is cooled down.

Standard Dry Powders Class A,B,C (Color Blue)

These are specially used for flammable liquid and electrical fires. Before using fire extinguishers make sure to remove all the flammable liquids and switch off the main power. Aim the fire extinguisher on the fire and start from bottom to upward across the area of fire. These extinguishers are best for domestic use.

Fire Extinguishers Class A&B ( Color Cream)

This is a foam and used mostly for electrical and pan fires. For liquid fires don’t aim the nozzle directley towards the fire, it can make the fire area wider. Start from one side and then go around the fire and completely extinguish the fire. In case of pan fire throw the foam on sides of pan, ultimately foam will cover the are of pan to finish the fire.

Carbon dioxide Gas (CO2) (Color Black)

Useful for flammable matrials and liquids and electrical fire as well. It is used just like dry powder. It becomes very cool while flowing out so never ever hold the horn in hands. Hold it from handle and bottom of extinguisher. Don’t use it in confined places as it can make breathing difficult due to excess of Co2 and shortage of O2.

Wet Chemical Extinguishers Class F (color yellow)

Used as of flammable materials like foam.

Some useful points to use fire extinguishers

·  Before starting to fight a fire, ensure that the alarm has been raised.

·  Do not fight a fire if it is dangerous to do so; it is too large already, or is spreading rapidly.

·  The fire or smoke could prevent you escaping.

·  There are gas cylinders at risk from the fire.

·  Take up a position giving unrestricted access to the fire, but allowing for a quick and safe escape if necessary.

·  A crouching stance will help to keep you clear of smoke, avoid heat and allow you to get closer to the fire.

·  When tackling a fire outside a building, take care to position yourself up wind of the fire.

·  If in spite of your efforts the fire continues to grow, leave immediately and if possible close any doors behind you.


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