Fire extinguishers are often the first line of defense when it comes to fighting fires. Everyone should have at least one fire extinguisher at home, but it's just as important to ensure that you have the proper type of fire extinguisher. It is recommended to have one for the kitchen, the garage and the workshop.
Although there are many different sizes, shapes and types of fire extinguishers, the most common extinguisher uses a dry chemical powder to smother the flames. Some other extinguishing agents are wet chemicals, carbon dioxide and pressurized water. Many extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one designator.
Classifications of extinguishers are determined according to their intended use on the five classes of fires; A, B, C, D, & K. In addition to the letter classification, extinguishers also receive a numerical rating. The number preceding the letter designates the potential size fire the extinguisher can be expected to put out. It is vital to know what type of extinguisher you are using. Using the wrong type of extinguisher for the wrong type of fire can be life-threatening.
- CLASS A- Ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper and cloth
- CLASS B- Flammable liquids such as oil, gasoline and certain paints
- CLASS C- Electrical fire such as overheating or arcing wires
- CLASS D- Combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium and sodium
- CLASS K- Food products such as certain cooking oils and animal fat
The general operating instructions of a fire extinguisher follow the acronym P.A.S.S.
- P- PULL (the pin)
- A-Aim (at the base of the fire)
- S-SQUEEZE (the handle)
- S-SWEEP (back and forth)
Remembering this will assist anyone with the use of an extinguisher.