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Safety Nugget Week of March 21 - Fire Safety and Fire Extinguishers< Back to Blog

Mar 28, 2016
By: T. Cai
Categories: Safety
Before leaving for a long overseas trip, I usually like to look around the house to make sure that all things are in order so everything will be OK when I am away from home for an extended period.  Last Saturday, I noticed that the fire extinguisher at our house needed to be replaced.  I went to Lowe’s and bought a new portable fire extinguisher.   My young son was very curious about it and begged me to show him how it worked and wanted to try it.   He and I had fun using the old extinguisher as a teaching and practicing tool.  That also reminded me this would make a refreshing fire safety and fire extinguishers Safety Nugget for this week.
Small fire could occur at home and at work.  When it comes to firefighting, prevention is the key. Good housekeeping, proper storage procedures and safe work practices are very important toward reducing the likelihood that a fire will destroy valuable property or injure either you or a family member or a fellow employee. 
In the event of a fire, the correct use of a portable fire extinguisher could mean the difference between suffering a minor loss or a major one. Portable fire extinguishers, if used properly, can make that difference. But there are several things to consider in using fire extinguishers. For instance, you must know the class of fire involved and the correct type of fire extinguisher to use.
Class A:   Involves ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber or plastics. The common extinguishing media is water or dry chemical.
Class B:  Flammable liquids, grease or gases are covered under this category.  Common extinguishing media are foam, carbon dioxide or dry chemical.
Class C:  Live electrical fires are class C fires. CO2 or dry chemical extinguishers should be used. However, the actual burning product may be class A items.
Class D:  Burning materials include combustible metals such as magnesium and sodium. Special extinguishing agents, approved by recognized testing laboratories, are needed when working with these metals.


How to Respond to Fires:

Sound the fire alarm and call the local fire department immediately if a fire breaks out. Follow proper procedures when responding to fires.  REMEMBER: attempt to fight the fire only if, (1) you know the type of combustible material burning, (2) you have been trained to use the fire extinguisher correctly, and (3) if the fire is still in the incipient (beginning) stage. If the fire gets too large or out of control, evacuate immediately.

For more information on HOW TO USE AN EXTINGUISHER, click the link. Courtesy of OSU Fire Extinguisher Training.