Fire extinguishers are an important safety device. Here are some guidelines for the inspection and use of them.
• When inspecting an extinguisher make sure that they are charged, the pin is in place and that the body is not rusted or corroded.
• Extinguishers on equipment should be inspected daily and documented on the daily equipment checklist.
• In addition to the daily inspections each extinguisher should have a tag for a monthly inspection as well as an annual inspection sticker showing that the unit has been serviced and inspected by an official fire protection company.
• Remember that we should only be using fire extinguishers for emergency egress purposes, not to fight fires. This is the fire departments job.
• If the situation arises, remember the acronym P.A.S.S. Pull the pin. Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
• Ensure that you have the correct fire extinguisher for the type of fire.
Class A fire extinguishers are meant to put out fires that involve what are called ordinary combustibles. This includes wood, paper and products made of similar materials. The symbol for a class A fire extinguisher is a capital A in black surrounded by a green background. There is also a numerical rating on any class A fire extinguisher. The numerical rating refers to the amount of extinguishing agent kept in the extinguisher and how much fire it can put out.
A class B fire extinguisher is specifically formulated to put out fires that involve flammable liquids. This includes oil, gasoline and grease. These fire extinguishers also have a numerical rating, but the rating is the number of square feet of flammable liquid that a non-expert should be able to put out with the extinguisher. The symbol for a class B fire extinguisher is a capital letter B surrounded by a red background.
Class C fire extinguishers are meant to put out electrical fires. Fires that involve live wires or electrical outlets should be put out using class C extinguishers. There is no a numerical rating, but the C indicates that the chemical agent isn't conductive, which means there is no risk of you getting shocked while putting out the fire. The symbol is a capital letter C surrounded by a blue background.
Class D fire extinguishers are meant to be used on specific, flammable metals. Metals like magnesium, which can burn at extremely high temperatures, can be put with class D extinguishers. Class D extinguishers are marked by a capital D set in a yellow star.