Anyone operating a fire extinguisher should have hands-on training and it is important to use the right type of extinguisher for the type of fire in question, as there are many different types of extinguisher. You will find Class A, B, C, D and K extinguishers although most workplaces will have just one or maybe two types. In addition, you will find water, dry chemical and carbon dioxide extinguishers. Dry chemical extinguishers are filled with pressurised powder or foam. It’s important that, in addition to receiving training, you always read the instructions printed on the extinguisher itself.
Accidents caused by fire extinguishers
When operating a fire extinguisher, you could burn yourself if you get too close to the fire, or if you use the wrong type of extinguisher, causing the flames to increase. You could even hurt someone else by pointing the nozzle at them, or at yourself, which is why it is important to be careful when operating a fire extinguisher. Most extinguishers have around 10 seconds of power once you squeeze the handle, so it’s vital to point the nozzle at the base of the fire before you trigger the extinguishing agent.
How to operate a fire extinguisher safely
When operating an extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS: Pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. This helps you to remember what to do next.
- Pull the fire extinguisher pin to release the locking mechanism.
- Aim it at the base of the fire, never at the flames. You need to extinguish the fuel.
- Squeeze the lever slowly to release the extinguisher’s agent.
- Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.
You should always stand back at a safe distance, several feet away – most extinguishers will tell you how close you need to be, but use your common sense. You should wait until the fire is completely out to make sure it doesn’t reignite and always follow the instructions on the extinguisher.
Accidents at work involving fire extinguishers do happen and if you have been injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence, you could be eligible to claim for compensation. Your first move should be to call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 – with experience in the personal injury compensation industry, we can help you to back up your claim with evidence. Our lawyers work on a 100% no win, no fee basis, ensuring that there are no expensive upfront fees to pay so that our services are accessible to everyone.
Date Published: March 3, 2014
Author: David Brown