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How to Choose a Fire Extinguisher

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Many people think of the importance of being prepared for a fire in their homes, however it is equally as important to follow suit in the workplace.  It is important to recognize that fire hazards and accidents do happen, and it’s best to have the tools you need to be prepared should a situation arise.

Everyone understands how critical it is to have fire extinguishers present in a building, however it’s important to note that different types of buildings require different types of fire extinguishers.  Use the information below to ensure you are choosing the right fire extinguisher for your facility’s needs.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

To combat the different types of fires that may arise, there are various types of fire extinguishers.  Each extinguisher has its own unique characteristics and capabilities.

The three main types of fire extinguishers are:

  1. Water Extinguishers – these units are filled about two-thirds with water and then pressurized with air.
  2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2 ) Extinguishers – in this style, the extinguishing contents are pressurized with CO
  3. Dry Chemical Extinguishers – these extinguishers discharge a blanket of fine powder, which creates a break between the fuel and the oxygen in the air.

If you’re unclear about which type of extinguisher fits your building’s needs, consult a third party like Fire Monitoring of Canada to review your options.

How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides a helpful guideline on how to use your fire extinguisher.  According to the NFPA, when confronted with the need to use a fire extinguisher, users should use the PASS method:

  • P – Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • A – Aim low towards the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the trigger or top handle.
  • S – Sweep the fire area with the extinguisher’s spray until he fire is completely out.

Important Facts

The Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety has provided users with many more helpful tips for using your fire extinguisher properly.

  • Ensure you’re using the proper size of extinguisher.
  • Install fire extinguishers at the height indicated in your jurisdiction’s Fire Code.
  • Place extinguishers in locations where they will be easily accessible to employees for quick use.
  • Ensure extinguishers are clearly visible and that location signs are clear.
  • Mark or label all fire extinguishers clearly with the class of fire it is to be used on.
  • Keep extinguishers in a fully charged and operable condition.
  • Place extinguishers in their designated locations at all times when not in use.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers visually every month.
  • Use fire extinguisher tags that indicates the date of inspection, recharging or servicing, name of the servicing agency, and the name of the person who completed the inspection or service.
  • Ensure the fire extinguishers are serviced yearly, or monthly as required.
  • Maintain written records that record maintenance such as serial number, extinguisher type, location, inspection date, description of test, date of next test, annual servicing date, comments, and inspector’s signature or initials.
  • Allow only certified and trained individuals to test and maintain equipment.

Learn More

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fire monitoring of canada logoFor over 30 years, Fire Monitoring of Canada (FMC) has been a leader in the monitoring of fire alarm and intrusion alarm systems.  If you would like to learn more about fire alarm systems, call us at 1 888 789 FIRE (3473), email fminfo@fire-monitoring.com, or fill out the contact form below.

 

 

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