We are all familiar with seeing fire extinguishers, probably on a more or less daily basis, but would we know how and when it is safe to use one? Should you be in the unfortunate position of being presented with a fire, there are a few things you must quickly assess before deciding if it is safe for you to tackle it with a fire extinguisher yourself.
When is it Safe to Tackle a Fire with a Portable Extinguisher
Is the fire too big?
If the fire has only just started, is still contained and has not spread to other materials, then it may be tackled by the correct portable fire extinguisher. Remember that a fire can double in size every 60 seconds. If the fire involves any flammable solvents, covers more than 60 square feet, or cannot be reached from a standing position, evacuate immediately and call the Fire Brigade.
Is it safe to breathe?
If visibility is still good and there is only a minimal amount of smoke accumulating, it is still safe to use a fire extinguisher. If the room is filling with smoke and it is difficult to breathe, do not attempt to put out the fire. Get out immediately and call the Fire Service who will tackle the fire with the right protection and equipment.
Is it too hot?
If you have caught the fire early enough and only slight heat is being generated, a portable fire extinguisher may still be safely used. If heat is building up, can be felt on exposed skin and is making it difficult to get to within the effective range of a fire extinguisher, evacuate immediately.
If you decide the fire is safe to tackle with a portable fire extinguisher, taking into account the above, you will not have time to stop and read the instruction on how to use it! At FTS Safety Solutions, we offer Fire Awareness training that will ensure employees have the knowledge necessary to act quickly and effectively in the event of a fire. If you are ever uncertain as to whether you should tackle a fire, or are not 100% confident in your ability, simply do not attempt to do so. Evacuate immediately and call the Fire Service.
If you would like more information on our Fire Awareness course, any other Health and Safety training courses or would like to make sure your fire extinguishers are all in working order, please get in touch on 01908 465264 or click here to contact us via email and we will be happy to help.
Until Next Time