Most people understand the importance of having fire extinguishers because a fire may break out any time. However, a lot of people do not know how to use their fire extinguishers. Having a fire extinguisher and not knowing how to use it defeats the purpose because the appliance will simply be unhelpful in a fire situation. If you have a fire extinguisher or are planning to get one for your home or workplace, it's essential to understand how these appliances actually work. Therefore, for you to get the full advantage of a fire extinguisher, here are a few things you need to know.
You Need the Right Type of Fire Extinguisher for the Right Kind of Fire
There are various classes of fire and the fire extinguishing agent used in fire extinguishers is designed to put out each of these types of fires. Using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire that it's not classed for will simply not work and may even result in more damage. For instance, attempting to put out an electrical fire with a fire extinguisher whose agent is water is risky because you may get an electric shock or even be electrocuted in the process. Therefore, it's good to be aware of the classes of fire your fire extinguisher can put out.
While extinguishers are meant for different types of fire, some are versatile in the sense that they can extinguish multiple classes of fire. Having one or more of these around your home as well as workplace would be a good idea.
Regular Inspection of Your Fire Extinguisher Is Imperative
You need to inspect your fire extinguisher periodically for any signs of damage. Basically, you want to check for signs of corrosion, especially for units installed outdoors where corrosion may occur. Corroded or rusted fire extinguishers can easily develop leaks and that's how pressure escapes from the appliance. You won't be able to put out a fire properly if you are using a fire extinguisher that has lost pressure.
Use Your Fire Extinguisher at the Incipient Stage of Fire
You will get the best results when you use your fire extinguisher at the initial stage of fire. This is because the discharge time of fire extinguishers is usually just seconds and this will only put out a fire that has just started. Your fire extinguisher may be of little or no use if the fire is already developed to the point where the flames are taller than you. Suppressing such a fire will be difficult and you'll simply be endangering yourself.