Safety Moment

Using a fire extinguisher . Using a Fire Extinguisher
Portable fire extinguishers have tow functions: to control or extinguish small or incipient (just starting) stage fires and to protect evacuation routes that a fired may block directly or indirectly with smoke or burning/smoldering materials. To extinguish a fire with a portable extinguisher, a person must have immediate access to the extinguisher, know how to make the unit work, and know how to apply the agent effectively. Attempting to extinguish even a small fired carries some risk. Fires can increase in size and intensity in seconds, blocking the exit path of the fire fighter and creating a hazardous atmosphere. In addition, portable fire extinguishers contain a limited amount of extinguishing agent and can be discharged in a matter of seconds. Therefore, a person should attempt to fight only very small or incipient stage fires. Performing a quick risk assessment before you attempt to fight a fire is a necessary step to making sure you can be successful. Risk Question Fire Characteristics for fires that can be put out with a extinguisher The fire is limited to the original material ignited; it is contained (say in a waste basket) and has not spread. The flames are not higher than your head. The fire has not depleted the oxygen in the room and is producing only small quantities of toxic gases (Know what is burning). Respiratory protection would NOT be required. Heat is being generated but the room temperature is only slightly increased. There may be smoke along the ceiling but you can clearly see everything. Fire Characteristics for fires that SHOULD NOT be put out with a extinguisher The fire involves flammable solvents; has spread to additional materials, is partially hidden (wall or ceiling), can not be reached from the standing position Due to smoke and gases the fire can not be fought without respiratory protection (only fire fighters) The heat from the fire can easily be felt on exposed skin and its hard to get within 10-15 feet (or the range of the extinguisher). Smoke is quickly filling the room limiting visibility. The fire is not contained; heat, flame, or smoke may block your evacuation path.

Is the fire to big?

Is the air safe to breathe?

Is the environment too hot or smoky?

Is there a safe evacuation path?

There is a clear and safe evacuation path that BEHIND you as you fight the fire.

The following steps must be followed when responding to an incipient (just starting) fire: • Pull a fire alarm to trigger a call to the fire department. • Identify your safe evacuation path before approaching the fire. DO NOT allow anything to block your evacuation path. • Use the fire extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S (Pull pin, Aim, Squeeze handle, Sweep at fire base) technique. • Back away from the extinguished fire in case of a flare up. • Evacuate IMMEDIATELY if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out. • Evacuate if the fire moves beyond the incipient stage (see above).

www.safetymoment.net

2010

Safety Moment
Using a fire extinguisher . The PASS Technique
Quickly check your extinguisher. Make sure the dial is in the green and the tamper seal is present and not broken. This will make sure your extinguisher is full and ready to use. PULL - Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal. AIM – Aim low, point the extinguisher nozzle, horn or hose at the base of the fire. SQUEEZE – Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent onto the fire. SWEEP – Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Stand and watch the area.

If the fire reignites repeat steps 2 through 4 if it is safe to do so. If you have the slightest doubt about fighting the fire EVACATE IMMEDIATELY!

www.safetymoment.net

2010

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