In a perfect world, fire extinguishers wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t need to know how to use one. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we live in today. Fires inside and outside the home are far too common in our society — making fire extinguishers essential for any home or business.
As important as fire extinguishers are to our safety and health, most people aren’t aware that there are multiple different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires. Not only that, but using the wrong one at the wrong time can put you and your family at a greater risk of harm.
When using a fire extinguisher to reduce the amount of fire and smoke damage, homeowners need to know the differences between each fire extinguisher — as well as when and how to use them properly. Don’t worry, we are going to walk you through everything you need to know!
What Are the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers?
The different types of fire extinguishers can be broken up into four different categories. Each category is designed to put out a different type of fire — depending on how the fire originally started. Lucky for you, these categories — A, B, C, and D — are extremely easy to remember!
Let’s take a look at the differences between the four categories of fire extinguishers:
- Class A – Designed to put out fires caused by ordinary combustibles, including wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and most types of plastic.
- Class B – Designed to put out fires caused by flammable liquids, including gasoline, oil, grease, lacquers, alcohol, and oil-based paint.
- Class C – Designed to put out fires involving any type of energized electrical equipment.
- Class D – Designed to put out fires involving flammable metals, including magnesium, titanium, sodium, potassium, lithium, uranium, and more.
If you own a business that utilizes commercial cooking equipment, there’s also a Class K fire extinguisher. They can put out fires caused by vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats. Class K fire extinguishers should only be used in a commercial setting, such as a cafeteria or restaurant.
In addition to that, you’ll also find multi-purpose fire extinguishers that are capable of putting out a variety of different types of fires. An A-B-C fire extinguisher is the most popular and can put out fires caused by ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and energized electrical equipment.
How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher
Having multiple fire extinguishers in the home or business is necessary, no matter how much time and effort you put into preventing a fire. You truly never know when a fire will start and they often happen without warning, so you must be completely prepared for the inevitable at all times.
Of course, having a fire extinguisher handy is only half the battle. After all, not knowing how to use a fire extinguisher defeats the entire purpose of having one in the first place. If you or your family don’t know how to use it, you could end up doing more harm than good once a fire ignites.
Luckily, there’s an extremely easy acronym you can remember before using a fire extinguisher — PASS. By following each step of the acronym, you can quickly and safely extinguish a fire before it becomes too much to handle. Let’s take a closer look at the PASS acronym:
- P – Pull the pin that’s designed as a tamper seal so you can properly use the fire extinguisher.
- A – Aim the extinguisher’s nozzle at the base of the fire and keep it low at all times.
- S – Squeeze the extinguisher’s handle, which releases the agent inside the extinguisher.
- S – Sweep the extinguisher’s nozzle from side to side, but make sure you keep it pointed at the base of the fire.
Before using a fire extinguisher, you should always make sure it’s safe to do so. This means ensuring the fire is confined to a small area, the fire isn’t growing at a rapid pace, you’ve alerted everyone else in the building, the fire department has been called, and you have a clear exit.
As you operate a fire extinguisher, using the PASS acronym, always keep an eye on your surroundings. If it starts to get out of hand, exit the building and allow the professionals to put the fire out. If the fire re-ignites and it’s safe to continue extinguishing, go through the steps again.
What to Do After Using a Fire Extinguisher
There’s nothing more stressful than having to use a fire extinguisher. The first thing you should do after you’ve finished extinguishing the fire is take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Take a good look at your surroundings and make sure the fire is completely extinguished.
As you exit the building, you should open any doors or windows in the home to ensure the debris and smoke are aired out of the home as best as possible. While the home is airing out, contact your local restoration company to properly assess and restore fire and smoke damage.
Depending on the size of the fire and the damage that resulted, you should wait to re-enter the home until it’s safe to do so. Leftover smoke can be harmful to the body and you won’t want to put your family, your employees, or yourself in any danger by re-entering a fire damaged home.
Are You Dealing With Fire Damage?
If the fire resulted in damage to the home, you’ll need quality emergency services and experienced fire or water damage repair in Denver. They can help you restore your home to its original, pre-fire condition — that way, you can effectively forget this situation ever happened.
If you’re looking for the best fire or water damage companies in Denver, you’ve come to the right place. At Restoration 1 of Central Denver, we take great pride in our ability to restore a home following any type of water or fire damage — as well as mold damage.
Contact us today!