The A, B, C, D’s of Fire Extinguishers
A fire extinguisher is likely one of those taken-for-granted things you don’t give much thought to until you need it.
Hopefully, each of your company’s fleet vehicles is equipped with a fire extinguisher for use on the job. But, if the vehicle is parked half a block away from the job site, good intentions may be all for nothing. You don’t want to waste precious moments running to get it.
Is it worth it to grab a small extinguisher along with your tools and equipment when you head to your job? It’s just another thing to haul back and forth, and besides, you haven’t needed one yet, right?
Unlike drills and clamps and wire cutters, an extinguisher proves its value only in an emergency. But, if a fire does occur, you’ll be grateful there’s an extinguisher handy, so including it in your “toolbox” may wind up being a good decision.
Types and Use
The materials you work with and around will determine the best type of extinguisher to have handy.
Type A (pressurized water) – use on wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and some plastics
Type B (carbon dioxide) – use on flammable liquid or electrical fires
Type C (dry chemical) – for electrical fires (wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment, computers, etc.)
Type D (multi-purpose dry chemical) – usable on class B and C fires; some also rated for class A fires
To use, remember PASS:
Pull the pin
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the handle slowly
Sweep back and forth
It pays to be comfortable knowing how to use an extinguisher so you can act immediately in the event of a real fire emergency. Many local fire departments have fire extinguisher information and training demonstrations. But, even better: fire prevention! Continually be on the lookout for potential job-site fire hazards and eliminate them before they turn into a serious situation. Vigilance will help ensure you never need to use that training or that extinguisher.
One final word on extinguisher use: If the fire is too large or spreading quickly, or an explosion is possible, forget the fire extinguisher. Get far away immediately and call 911.
This article is only for general information and recommendations regarding risk prevention and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations presented may help reduce or eliminate the risk of loss, but are not guaranteed to do so. Seek qualified counsel with questions specific to your circumstances. ©2016 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.
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