#YHSafetyTips - Fire Extinguisher Safety

Posted by Kahla Livelsberger in #YHSafetyTips, Mar 08, 2017

How to know if you should fight the fire.
There are a few things you should look for before you attempt to fight a fire. First you should look around and make sure everyone in the building has left or is leaving. The next thing you should do immediately is call 911. You want to be sure that the fire is not spreading beyond a small area before fighting it, and that there is an escape route where the fire will not spread. Before using the fire extinguisher, make sure you know the proper instructions and use the P.A.S.S. method.

How to use a fire extinguisher using the P.A.S.S. method.
P. - Pull the pin
A. - Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire
S. - Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
S. - Sweep

How should a fire extinguisher be mounted?
Fire Extinguishers should be mounted a certain way so they do not get damaged or moved. They should be hung about 3.5 to 5 feet above the floor. Extinguishers that are larger only need to be hung 3 feet from the floor.

Different classes of fire extinguisher.
There are 5 different classes of extinguishers: A, B, C, D, and K.

Class A - Used for combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The symbol will be a green triangle.
Class B - Used for flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The symbol will be a red square.
Class C- Used for electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never try to use water for these kinds of fires. The symbol will be a blue circle.
Class D - Used for combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types are normally found in a chemical lab. The symbol will be a Yellow Decagon.
Class K - Used for cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances. They are normally in a restaurant and cafeteria kitchens. The symbol will be a black hexagon.

The importance of maintenance to your fire extinguishers.
-Make sure it’s easy to access and is not blocked.
-Check the pressure level and make sure it’s not too high or low.
-Always check the hose and nozzles, and make sure nothing is damaged or rusted.
-Keep clean from dust, oil, and grease.
-Have your extinguishers inspected annually.
-Some extinguishers require that they are shaken monthly, make sure to know if any of yours do and shake them when necessary.

How often should training be?
Your employees should have the basic knowledge on how to use a fire extinguisher and know the general principles we went over in this blog post including PASS and when to use different types of extinguishers. You are to have your employees trained when they start and then once a year after to keep the knowledge fresh.

If you haven't read last week’s post on Safety Cabinets, check it out here. Next week we will be writing about Mobile Scaffold Safety.

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