If you find yourself in a situation where a fire is occurring and a fire extinguisher is handy, here are four things that you need to take into consideration in order to determine if it would be smart and safe for you to use the fire extinguisher on the first.
#1 The Size Of The Fire
Fire extinguishers are designed to be used to quickly contain small fires before they have had a chance to spread. They are not designed to fight large fires that are already raging. It is also not a good idea to use a fire extinguisher on a fire that has already started to spread; fire can spread at a very accelerated rate, which is why it is a good idea to get out of the location of the fire if you think that your safety could be compromised as the fire spreads.
#2 The Location of The Fire
Second, you need to take into consideration the location of the fire. You need to be able to easily reach an exit if the fire spreads and the fire extinguisher is not able to contain the fire. If you do decide to fight a fire with the extinguisher, make sure that you position yourself between the fire and the nearest exit to ensure that you have a safe way out no matter what happens.
#3 What Is Burning
Third, you need to take into consideration what is burning. You need to know what is burning in order to know if the fire extinguisher that you have will work. For example, if some food is on fire, you are going to need to use a different type of fire extinguisher than if some toxic chemicals have caught fire. Make sure that you know what is burning and if your fire extinguisher can handle that type of fire.
If you don't know what is burning, or if you know that your fire extinguisher is not designed to fight that type of fire, get out of the area and call for emergency assistance.
#4 The Condition Of Your Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are not designed to last forever. You should inspect your fire extinguisher at least once a month and make sure that it has not sustained any damage, such as dents or leaks. You should also look at the gauge on the side of your fire extinguisher and check the position of the needle. The needle lets you know if your fire extinguisher has the right amount of pressure; the needle should be within the middle of the green zone. If you have not checked the condition of your fire extinguisher for a year or more, it may not be the smartest idea to try to fight it with an extinguisher that doesn't work.
Always assess the situation before grabbing a fire extinguisher to fight a fire. If the situation does not seem safe in any way, leave the area and call 911 instead for support. For more information, contact a business such as Echo Fire Protection.