Did you know that in sprinkler buildings 84% of the time fires occur, they never grow large enough to activate the sprinklers? This was taken from a study done by the NFPA. So if the fires didn’t grow large enough to trigger the sprinklers, how were they put out? Most of these fires were put out by portable fire extinguishers. Every minute counts when a fire is present which is why it is important to learn how to use this tool. One of the best ways to prevent a fire from growing while waiting for the fire department is by using a fire extinguisher.
When Should I use a Fire Extinguisher?
There are times when a fire extinguisher should and should not be used to fight a fire. An extinguisher can be used when a fire appears to be small and contained in one area. It is also important that you have already notified the fire department in case the fire does become a danger to you and your home. Most importantly, do not try and fight a fire that has grown to a dangerous magnitude. If a fire is not small enough to extinguish with a single portable fire extinguisher, notify the fire department and evacuate the building.
How to Properly Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher
Worcester Polytechnic Institute & Eastern Kentucky University conducted a study of 276 subjects, and 98% of the individuals successfully used a portable fire extinguisher. This goes to show that the fire extinguisher is a safe and effective tool for building occupants to use. Do you think you would know how to operate a fire extinguisher in time of need?
Steps may vary depending on the extinguisher present in your building. Typically, the use of a fire extinguisher contains the following steps:
- Step one: Pull the pin to release the lock or seal
- Step two: aim the nozzle of the extinguisher low, pointing at the base of the flame
- Step three: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent
- Step four: Move the nozzle from left to right covering the base of the flames until the fire dies out
- Step 5: watch the fire to make sure it does not reignite
Remember that it is best to notify the fire department when a fire is present. By informing the fire department they can assist you in what should be done and send help if the fire grows or cannot be extinguished.
Feeling Prepared to Fight a Fire
No need to worry about what to do in case a small fire begins in your home. Portable fire extinguishers are now your safe and effective protection tool in times of emergency. You have learned when the extinguisher is appropriate to use and how the extinguisher operates. In another study done by the city of Nashville “87% of the time that portable fire extinguishers are used, they are being used by building occupants to completely extinguish a fire in commercial buildings before the fire department arrives.” This goes to show that knowing how to use this tool can both save you and your property from facing serious damages.