Top Three Dangers of Using Fire Extinguishers Incorrectly

While nobody likes to think about the worst happening, it’s always a good idea to plan for it anyways. For starters, having multiple fire extinguishers positioned uniformly around your home or place of business is just sound planning.

Also, know how to use them: Most fire extinguishers have clear instructions printed right on the canister, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself ahead of time. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that there are actually different types of extinguishers meant to deal with different types of fires.

There are some dangers associated with the incorrect use of fire extinguishers, so read on for some more insight into how to properly use these lifesaving devices.

Making a bad situation even worse

One of the most dangerous outcomes of the incorrect use of fire extinguishers is that you may just wind up making the fire even worse.

For example, using a fire extinguisher loaded with water on an electrical fire can result in serious injury via electrocution. Water fire extinguishers are also a bad idea when it comes to grease fires. They will not extinguish these flames and are far more likely to cause the burning grease to splash. This can have the effect of both spreading the fire and injuring bystanders as the fiery grease lands all over the room.

Make sure that your extinguishers in your kitchen, for example, are rated for use on things like cooking fires.

Health hazards to bystanders

One of the dangers of incorrect use of fire extinguishers is that the very properties that make them so effective on fires can also harm people. Certain types of fire extinguishers can potentially cause injury to both the user and bystanders (especially children), even if they’re used mostly correctly.

For example, a CO2 fire extinguisher helps to put out a fire by depriving it of the oxygen it needs for fuel, but humans also need this oxygen. A CO2 fire extinguisher discharged in a confined space can quickly make it difficult to breathe. Similarly, a foam fire extinguisher uses powerful chemicals that are deadly for fires but can also harm people who they come into contact with.

Damage to property

While it may not be at the front of your mind when you see flames in your home or business, unnecessary property damage is what happens if you use the wrong fire extinguisher. It’s actually quite possible to put out a fire with minimal secondary damage resulting from the extinguisher, so this really matters. Again, this brings to mind the example of using a water extinguisher on an electrical fire—not only is it likely to injure you, but the water will likely completely destroy equipment that might have only been damaged otherwise.

If you want to make sure that your home or business is fully outfitted with the latest in firefighting technology, then it’s time to get in touch with our folks at AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. We can also walk you through all of the dangers of incorrect use of fire extinguishers on top of the ones laid out above, so give us a call today and make your home or office a safer place.

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