One of the most important things to know when using a fire extinguisher is how to operate it properly. You should aim low and squeeze the handle in order to release the extinguishing agent. Then sweep the extinguishing agent from side to side, working from the base of the fire to the flames. Once you’ve extinguished the fire, you should back away from it, and then exit the building.
In addition to using water to put out fires, fire extinguishers are also made of dry agents, like ABC dry chemicals. However, dry agents, like acetone, have been around since World War II. The first pressurized extinguishers were introduced by the company Ansul in 1949. These fire extinguishers were made of potassium chloride and met-L-X (sodium chloride). Later, copper and graphite were used.
Another type of fire extinguisher is the Met-L-Kyl cartridge-operated extinguisher. This type of extinguisher can extinguish both pyrophoric liquid and dry chemical fires. The foam it produces prevents oxygen from reaching the fuel and progressively puts out the fire without flashback.
Sodium bicarbonate is the most common dry chemical extinguisher. However, it can also contain other substances. In addition to sodium and potassium, the chemical also contains silicon polymer to prevent moisture from absorbing and caking. While sodium bicarbonate has a great fire-fighting power, it’s not effective on deep-seated fires.
Fire extinguishers have to be checked regularly to ensure that they’re still working properly. They need to be checked at least annually by a qualified technician or facility employee. They should also be checked for internal damage, as well as identifying any signs of deterioration. In addition, they should be serviced at least every five years to ensure that they remain effective and safe.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers work effectively against both class A and class B fires. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are particularly convenient for use in offices, as they leave no residue after use. They can also be useful for electrical fires because they don’t damage electrical items or cause short circuits. For the most effective fire prevention, it’s important to stock up on fire safety equipment, and your fire extinguisher should be no exception.
Before you buy a fire extinguisher, think about what kind of room each one will serve. Ideally, you should keep one in every room, including the kitchen and garage. Class A fire extinguishers work on ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, cardboard and most plastics. Class B and C fire extinguishers are used on electrically energized equipment, and class D extinguishers are meant for fires in metallic materials.
In addition to having the right type of fire extinguisher, you should know how to use it. When a fire starts, call emergency services for help, and be sure to determine a safe escape route before approaching the fire. When in doubt, always read the instructions on the fire extinguisher.