Fight a Fire: do you know how to do it?

Posted by: Judit

2015-07-02

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In Switzerland, three out of four fires break out in private homes. The injury and suffocation is great - especially sleeping people are at risk. And fire causes substantial damage to property, and even if it is replaceable, our personal belongings can be destroyed. The good news is that 99 percent of house fires are put out before they turn deadly. Burning in a house happens much less than smoke poisoning which can be also as dangerous.

Fire extinguishers

Keeping one or more fire extinguishers in the home is inevitable. You can put out a fire in initial stage within a few seconds, but without it the whole house could burn down in minutes.

  • Place a fire extinguisher in a place where you can easily grab it in case a fire breaks out.
  • Read the instructions and familiarize yourself with the fire extinguisher, you should know how to use it and each adult in the family should know it as well.
  • In an average apartment an ABC fire extinguisher is the most practical because it puts out fires caused by burning solids, liquids and gases.
  • Check the extinguisher periodically and charge it when the manometer needle is no longer in the green zone
  • Do not place the extinguisher near a heater / stove, and not in a place where it can be frozen

Fight a fire

Know what is burning. If you don’t know what is burning, or you assume theres is something it can explode or produce highly toxic smoke let the fire department handle it.

The fire is spreading rapidly beyond the spot where it started. The time to use an extinguisher is in the incipient, or beginning, stages of a fire. If the fire is already spreading quickly, it is best to simply evacuate the building, closing doors and windows behind you as you leave. If a fire is contained and the flames are no more than waist-high, fight it with an extinguisher.

Use of the extinguisher

1)   Almost all fire extinguishers have a safety pin in the handle. This pin usually looks like a plastic or metal ring, sometimes colored red, that is held in place by a plastic seal. The distinctive features will vary depending on the type of fire extinguisher you have. You must break the seal and pull the safety pin from the handle before you can use the fire extinguisher by squeezing the lever, which discharges the fire extinguishing agent.

2)   Shooting into the flame is a waste of the fire extinguisher, as you’re not putting out the source of the flames. It’s vital to stop the fire at its source, or to remove or dampen the fuel from the fire, in order to put it out. By focusing the extinguisher’s spray at the base of the fire or the source, you’re extinguishing the fuel.

3)   Squeeze the handle or lever slowly to discharge the agent. Letting go of the handle will stop the discharge, so keep it held down.

4)   Sweep side to side approximately 15cm over the fire until expended. The sweeping motion helps to extinguish the fire. Stand several feet or metres back from the fire: fire extinguishers are manufactured for use from a distance.

5)   Keep your back to an unobstructed exit as you empty your canister, aiming at the base of the flames.

6)   Stop if breathing becomes difficult, most fire deaths result from smoke inhalation. If possible, close doors as you escape.

7)   You need to know the range of extinguisher: normally you should stand 1 meter far away from the fire using a 1-kg fire extinguisher

8)   The extinguisher works only 10 seconds, so you should point directly in the middle of the fire

9)   Do not operate it continuously, but in short periods, so the fire-fighting will be more effective

Purchase a new one or refill the fire extinguisher immediately. The old one is now depleted and will serve no further purpose. Do not allow an empty extinguisher to be present where it could create the false impression of being a good extinguisher.

Do Not Fight the Fire If

  • You don’t have adequate or appropriate equipment. If you don’t have the correct type or large enough extinguisher, it is best not to try to fight the fire.
  • You might inhale toxic smoke. If the fire is producing large amounts of smoke that you would have to breathe in order to fight it, it is best not to try.
  • Your instincts tell you not to. If you are uncomfortable with the situation for any reason, just let the fire department do their job.

The final rule is to always position yourself with an exit or means of escape at your back before you attempt to use an extinguisher to put out a fire. In case the extinguisher malfunctions, or something unexpected happens, you need to be able to get out quickly, and you don’t want to become trapped. Just remember, always keep an exit at your back.

The Safe-T extinguishers are suitable for putting out starting fires at home. In addition an extinguisher fitting to your home design or your taste you will surely place on a central and visible location in your apartment to be exposed for your pleasure.

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