A fire extinguisher is an absolute necessity in any home or office. While there's a good chance that the extinguisher will sit on the wall for years, collecting dust, it could end up saving your property and even your life.
HOW TO INSPECT YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Know the locations of the fire extinguishers in your work area.
Make sure the class of the extinguisher is safe to use on fires likely to occur in the immediate area.
Check the plastic seal holding the pin in the extinguisher handle. Has the extinguisher been tampered with or used before? Report any broken/missing seals/pins to
Jersey Coast Fire Equipment at 732-938-2020.
Look at the gauge and feel the weight. Is the extinguisher full? Does it need to be recharged?
Water, some foam, and dry chemical extinguishers have gauges indicating the pressure inside the extinguisher. The pressure needle should be in the "green" area (generally 100-175 lbs., depending on the type of agent).
CO2 (carbon dioxide) extinguishers are high pressure cylinders with pressures ranging from 1500 lb to 2150
lb. These extinguishers DO NOT have gauges and must be weighed to determine the amount of contents remaining.
Make sure the pin, nozzle and nameplate are intact.
Be aware of the condition of your area's extinguishers by visual inspection on a frequent basis to ensure you have a working extinguisher there when you need one.
Report any missing, empty or damaged fire extinguishers whenever you notice any discrepancies.
The APPEARENCE of the most common types of extinguishers:
Generally, you can tell with a glance which type an extinguisher is hanging on the wall, or in the cabinet, just by looking at its
shape and/or color. Check the labels of the extinguishers in your area and note the color and shape/size of the extinguisher. This may help if someone runs in to help you fight a fire with the WRONG extinguisher (i.e. water on an electrical fire) - you can STOP them before they are injured or make matters worse!
ABC-rated multipurpose dry powder extinguishers are the most common
particularly in the corridors of buildings.
They are almost always RED in color and have either a long narrow hose or no hose (just a short nozzle). These extinguishers are very light (5-25 lbs total weight)
Halon extinguishers look virtually identical to ABC multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers.
Water extinguishers are generally only found in
older buildings, schools and areas that do not have electrical equipment
and/or flammable liquids. They are usually SILVER (crome-metal) in color, have a flat bottom, have a long narrow hose, are quite large (2-1/2 gallons).
CO2 (carbon dioxide) extinguishers are generally red, have a LARGE nozzle (horn), are VERY HEAVY (15-85 lbs.) -some CO2 extinguishers for aircraft hangers or special industrial use are so large as to require roll-around carts to move them. These are all high-pressure cylinders.
Care should be used not to drop a CO2 cylinder; if it is damaged it can punch a hole through the nearest
wall. (The containers are quite sturdy, but don't abuse them.) CO2 cylinders do not have a pressure gauge - they must be weighed to determine the amount of contents.
Wet Chemical extinguishers are silver in
color and only found in areas that need protection from grease
fire. Kitchens are a perfect example. Even with a fire
suppression system, a fire may rekindle or continue to burn from splash
in areas that are not protected with the suppression system.
WARNING! It is dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled ""ONLY for Class A Fires" on a grease or electrical fire.
Installation and Maintenance
Install your fire extinguishers in plain view. Keep them out of reach of children and away from stoves and heating appliances.
Read the operator's manual to learn how to inspect and maintain your fire extinguisher. Extinguishers require routine care.
Rechargeable extinguishers must be serviced after every use. Disposable fire extinguishers can only be used once. Replace disposable extinguishers after use.
Before Fighting the Fire
Keep your back to an unobstructed exit and stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire.
Follow this 4 step procedure.
Remember the word P.A.S.S.
Pull the pin. This unlocks the operating ever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have a different release device.
Aim low: Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire with the nozzle or hose.
Squeeze the lever above the handle: This will discharge the extinguisher's contents. To stop the discharge, release the lever. Some extinguishers may have a button instead of a lever.
Sweep from side to side: Aim and keep the extinguisher at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. While doing this, move carefully toward the fire. Repeat the process if the fire reignites.