A fire extinguisher is an important tool used in offices, homes and other buildings to put out any fire before it destroys life and property. It can save a lot of lives and damage to property if used properly and on time. Fire extinguishers are devices which use water, foam and carbon based chemicals which help extinguish fire. They are basically of two types, hand held and wheel mounted. Hand held extinguishers are generally mounted up on a wall which is easily accessible during any emergency situation. These are smaller in size and volume, and are meant to put out fires in it’s initial stages. However, if the fire gets out of control, remember that it’s not necessary that a fire extinguisher may put it all out. Wheel mounted extinguishers are used in places and situations where bigger fires can be expected. These are heavier in weight and volume and are generally found across locations such as docks, marinas, parking lots and construction sites.
So how do we determine what fire extinguisher is the best for us?
There are a number of factors which you might have to consider once you decide on getting a fire extinguisher. I have observed a few pointers which might be of help.
- Determine the location– Determine the location where the fire extinguisher will be used, and then conclude on the size you want to buy. Also the location will determine the type of extinguisher which is needed. I will be talking about the types of extinguishers in the points to follow. A typical fire extinguisher used in offices, homes and other small buildings weighs from anywhere between 7 to 14 kilograms. For bigger locations, such as parking lots and construction sites, bigger models weighing between 18 to 24 kilograms might be needed.
- Type– The type of fire extinguisher to be purchased will depend upon the location. After concluding upon the location, you have to find a dedicated spot which is most suitable for mounting or storing a fire extinguisher. This spot must be well chosen. It should be easily accessible during an emergency. Different spots will determine the type of fire extinguisher that has to be used. In the United States, there are five major classifications- A, B, C, D and K. Type A is used for common objects like paper, wood and cloth which can catch fire easily. This type is most commonly used in bedrooms and living rooms, where there are items made up of the above mentioned material. Type B is used for putting out fires caused by inflammable gases and liquids. Most commonly this type is used in parking lots and labs. Type C is used for any fires caused by electrical appliances and switch boards. They are used to prevent fires caused by fuse failure and electrical mishaps. Type D is sued to put out fires caused by combustible metals such as magnesium. This is the most uncommon of the lot. Type K is used for Kitchen purposes, to put out fires caused by oils and greases. This type of fire extinguisher is used most commonly in restaurants, pubs and home kitchens.
- Size– Choose an appropriate size depending upon the location of the extinguisher. For example, if you put up an extinguisher in your child’s room which is too heavy for your child to operate, it might lose it’s whole purpose, and the fire may get out of hand.
Once you have decided upon what extinguisher you are getting, let everyone know it’s mounting or storing spot(which should be easily accessible) and how to use it. Using these on time can help prevent disasters.
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