PASS the Fire Extinguisher

Posted by Omega Security on January 16, 2014

A home fire can be a devastating and potentially life-threatening event. Fire is the third most common cause of death among accidental fatalities in the home, and it’s also responsible for millions of dollars in property damage each year. Fortunately, the humble fire extinguisher, if used correctly, can mean the difference between a minor incident and a roaring inferno. Follow this simple guide, and you’ll know just what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

Types of Fire Extinguishers
fire safety systems
Generally speaking, there are five different types of fire, and each of them requires specific extinguishing agents. Using the wrong class of extinguisher on a fire can be ineffective at best, and possibly even dangerous. The five classes are as follows.

Class A: The most common class, these fire extinguishers are intended for ordinary household combustibles such as paper, rubber, wood, plastic and cloth.

Class B: These extinguishers are suited for use on flammable liquids, which includes gasoline, grease, oil and other oil-based fluids.

Class C: These extinguishers are intended for use on fires involving electrically powered devices. This may include appliances, power tools and other devices that are plugged in to an electrical outlet.

Class D: Intended to combat fires involving specific types of metal, these extinguishers are rarely seen outside of factories and other industrial areas.

Class K: A fire extinguisher marked as Class K is suited for fires involving various forms of cooking oils, fats and greases. These are most often seen in commercial kitchens, but can also be useful for home kitchens.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

The easiest way to learn how to use a fire extinguisher is by using the acronym “PASS”.

Pull: Begin by pulling the pin located near the top of the extinguisher. This unlocks the extinguisher, which will allow you to discharge the contents.

Aim: Move to within a safe distance of the fire, and aim the nozzle directly at the base of the fire. Although the flames may look scary, the way to extinguish a fire is to cut off the fuel. Aim directly for the material that the fire is burning.

Squeeze: Once you’re aimed correctly, apply a slow, steady pressure to the lever. An average fire extinguisher will have approximately ten seconds of spray, so continue squeezing firmly until the extinguisher stops.

Sweep: While spraying, sweep the nozzle from side to side across the base of the fire. Try to cover the entire base of the fire in order to prevent temporarily extinguished flames from re-igniting.

When Not to Use a Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is only effective if the fire is in a small, contained space, such as a wastebasket or a single flammable object. It’s also only effective if you have the correct class of extinguisher for the fire at hand. Do not attempt to use an extinguisher on larger fires or when you may be at risk of toxic smoke. In such an event, call the local fire department immediately and vacate the premises. An even safer option for keeping your family safe is a plan that offers full-service security in Miami, which includes fire safety systems that can detect a fire and alert the proper authorities immediately.