The Dangers of Improper Fire Extinguisher Use

Fire extinguishers serve a vital purpose in any home, office, industrial space or commercial building. They’re literally lifesavers, preventing loss of life and property as well as the further spread of fires. Every day, regular people put out fires using fire extinguishers. While fire extinguishers are so important, few people know the basics of fire extinguisher safety in Lawrenceville, GA.

Types of fires and how to extinguish them

To begin your training with fire extinguisher safety in Lawrenceville, GA, you’ll need to know about the different types of fires that can occur. You’ll need to know the kind of fire you’re dealing with when reaching for an extinguisher. Not all fire extinguishers can put out each of the following fire types:

  • Class A: These fires involve items that leave behind ash when burned, such as paper, wood and fabric. You can use a water, water mist, foam, dry chemical or clean agent extinguisher for Class A fires.
  • Class B: This is a fire burning with flammable liquids such as gas, paints, petroleum, tar, alcohol, lubricants and solvents. Extinguishers that work on Class B fires include dry chemical, carbon dioxide (CO2) and clean agent.
  • Class C: A Class C fire includes energized electrical components, like computers, appliances, transformers, servers and motors. Turn off the power source before extinguishing this type of fire. You’ll need a CO2, dry chemical or clean agent extinguisher.
  • Class D: These fires occur with combustible metals present, like lithium, sodium, potassium, zirconium, titanium and magnesium. Only a dry powder extinguisher can fight the flame of a Class D fire.
  • Class K: This fire burns due to the presence of cooking oils and greases. Wet chemical extinguishers are designed to put out large grease fires in commercial kitchens, and are the only type of extinguisher that puts out a Class K fire.

What happens when a fire extinguisher is used incorrectly?

Deploying the incorrect fire extinguisher leads to significant health hazards in Lawrenceville, GA. For example, if you use a water extinguisher on a Class C fire, you could severely shock yourself. The same fire extinguisher used on a Class K fire will cause the lit oil or grease to splatter, further spreading the flame.

When fighting a Class D fire, you can’t use a CO2 extinguisher because the carbon dioxide may harmfully affect the chemical reaction causing the fire. This leads to the fire increasing in strength, possibly resulting in an explosion that destroys property and injures people.

Even when you’re using the correct extinguisher, there are other safety concerns to keep in mind. When discharged, a CO2 extinguisher releases a burst of this gas to suffocate the fire. If done in a small room, the extinguisher could suck all of the oxygen out of the space and asphyxiate anyone in the area.

Ultimately, you need to know what you’re dealing with before pulling the trigger on an extinguisher. Otherwise, you might hurt yourself and others, along with making the fire even worse. If you have questions about fire extinguishers and related health hazards in Lawrenceville, GA, contact us now.

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