Common fire extinguisher mistakes to avoid

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    How to use a fire extinguisher

    Should the situation arise where you are faced with a fire,  the fear can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to think straight - all that is at the front of the mind is how to stop the spread of the fire. Fire extinguishers are actually easy to use but it is crucial to learn the proper, effective and safe way to extinguish a fire.

    • Not pulling the extinguisher pin

      Fire extinguishers have a pin on the handle to prevent any unintended discharge. It is important to remember to pull the pin out or you will not be able to use the extinguisher. You may also see a tamper seal on a fire extinguisher. These protect the pin from being accidentally pulled from a fire extinguisher and can be used to identify whether an extinguisher has already been discharged. In this case, simply twist the tamper seal and pull the pin out.

    • Standing too close to the fire

      It is very important to maintain the right distance between the fire and the fire extinguisher. If you are too far away, the fire extinguisher's discharge will be too weak and therefore the fire may not go out but on the other hand if you're standing too close, there is a risk you could potentially burn yourself or even accidentally spread the fire. Eight feet from the flames is the recommended distance which is considered close enough to discharge effectively but not too dangerous for the user.

    • Aiming the discharge too high

      A common mistake is to start using the fire extinguisher at the highest point of the fire and sweep downwards.  This will not extinguish the fire. Instead, aim the discharge at the base of the fire where the fuel is, and sweep side to side until the fire is put out.

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    The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader's risk.