A fire extinguisher should be a part of any property owner’s fire safety measures. In addition to having a fire extinguisher ready for contingencies, you should also be knowledgeable in effectively using it to prevent harm to people and property. You should ensure that you have your fire extinguisher examined by a qualified professional at least once a year in order to comply with NFPA 10. To use your fire extinguisher effectively in a high-risk situation, you should be aware of the right procedure to follow and also be aware of mistakes that are commonly made. Following are the four commonly made fire extinguisher mistakes that need to be avoided to respond to fire emergencies in an optimal manner.
Not Pulling Out The Pin
When there’s a fire in the building, it is easy for civilians to lose composure. In such circumstances, they might forget about pulling out the pin before using the fire extinguisher. The sealed pin acts as a simple safety measure to prevent unnecessary discharge and to indicate whether it’s been used after the previous service or inspection. Checking and pulling out this pin should be the first action taken by the fire extinguisher user to prevent any delay in response. Remember, in an emergency, every second counts.
Standing Too Close to The Fire
While extinguishing a flame in the building, people tend to get too close to the fire while attempting to extinguish it. This is not safe and ideal for a number of reasons. Firstly, it puts the person trying to put out the fire in a position where he/she could get easily burned by the flames. Also, releasing the pressurized content of the fire extinguisher from an extremely close range may cause the fire to spread in a different direction, and may even cut off your exit routes by surrounding you. Hence, it is necessary to stay at an adequate distance from the fire. This also helps in monitoring the fire by giving visibility over a wide area.
Sweeping at The Top of The Flames
While operating the fire extinguisher, the nozzle should be aimed at the base of the fire instead of the top. This is because the base is where the flame originates from since it is the source of fuel for the fire. While putting out a fire, the fire extinguisher should be aimed and swept along the base of the fire to ensure that the fire is contained promptly and effectively.
Not Waiting/Calling for Help
Having a fire extinguisher does not mean that you are totally prepared to respond to and handle all kinds of fire emergencies all by yourself. When you notice a fire, it is critical that you first call for help from the fire services department. The fire extinguisher should be used as an immediate measure until professional help arrives. If you find the fire not subsiding even after the use of a fire extinguisher, you should evacuate the building to prevent injuries to people. Having a reliable fire alarm system gives the inhabitants an early warning to evacuate and notify authorities, allowing a quicker response and minimal damages.
Being mindful of these common fire extinguisher mistakes will allow you to respond with added alertness during emergencies caused by fire. To prevent fires as early as possible and ensure maximum safety, contact our Certified inspectors to have your Extinguishers Inspected.