According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), estimated 4000 fire-related deaths occur in the US annually. This implies that every day, seven people succumb to fire-related incidences.
Among these incidences, more than 75% occurred in homes which either didn’t have a fire extinguisher, or the fire extinguisher was not functioning properly.
Hence, a fire extinguisher is one of the most important tools that can be used to put out different types of fire-related incidences. In most fire incidences, the availability of a fire extinguisher can reduce the casualties by up to 80% and this explains why there is a government regulation to have a fire extinguisher in every building.
Types of fire extinguisher
Before delving into the importance of having a fire extinguisher, let’s start by outlining the different types if fire extinguishers and how each is equipped to handle different fire incidences. Generally, fire extinguishers are classified according to cause of the fire, which falls into five categories; class A, class B, class C, class D and class K.
Class A fire is caused by burning ordinary materials like paper and plastic. Class B fire is related to burning of flammable materials like kerosene/gasoline. Class C is caused by electric appliances, class D related flammable substances like sodium and potassium while class K is related to kitchen fires.
Water extinguisher is best suited to distinguish class A fire. Class B, C, and D is best dealt with by use of dry chemical extinguishers. Electric fires, also known as class C fire is best dealt with by foam extinguisher, while kitchen fires or class K fire is distinguished by wet chemical extinguishers.
Importance of fire extinguishers
The primary role of a fire extinguisher is to put off and prevent the spreading of fire when an incident occurs. According to a study released by FETA, Fire extinguishing traders association), out of 2000 fire incidences under research 80%were put off by a fire extinguisher. That is about $7B worth of property saved from the fire incident. Further, putting off the fire using a portable extinguisher reduces the inconvenience that might have been caused by the spread of the fire.
Use of fire extinguishers in Hotel industry
The hotel industry is one of the risk factors when analyzing the occurrence of fires. The constant cooking, electrical malfunctioning, opening of jar cans, mixing of different gases while cooking and exposure to some flammable substances are some of the risk factors.
According to a report by Hotelinteractive.com, these fires occur mainly in the evening thus endangering the lives of the guests who are staying in the rooms. Since more than 70% of these fire incidences don’t spread beyond the place of origin, a fire extinguisher in most cases is enough to put off the fire. According to the report, it was indicated that more than 20 fires occur daily and were put off by a fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguisher protects the environment
By containing the fire before it spreads, fire extinguishers enhance environmental conservation. Further, by managing a fire at early stages, fire extinguisher reduces the emission of poisonous gases into the atmosphere while ensuring a release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
How to use a fire extinguisher?
Having a fire extinguisher is important, but knowing how to use it is a necessity in case of a fire outbreak. Always keep it is a place that is visible and easily accessible both at home and in the office. Ensure that you are equipped with a special demonstration to know how to use it properly. The rule is as follows:
- First, pull the pin.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
- Tightly squeeze the handle.
- Sweep from side to side while ensuring that your focus remains at the base of the fire.
Remember to stand 5-6 feet from the origin of the fire. If you can’t seem to remember all the steps above, just memorize the simple acronym PASS i.e. Pull, Aim, Squeeze and sweep.
Fire safety tips
While a fire extinguisher is important in every home, remember prevention is always better than cure. Thus, take precautions to prevent occurrence and effects of a fire incident when it happens. Ensure that you install smoke alarms both inside and outside your home. Test the smoke signals on a monthly basis.
Talk to your family members about a fire escape plan, with a keen concentration on fire safety ladder for balcony and the most important one, in case of a fire breakout, get out of the house, don’t stop to pick anything and stay outside until the fire is put off.