Fire extinguishers are often the difference between life and death in fire incidents, so they are a legal requirement in any commercial facility. Having them in your facility is critical. That said, fire extinguishers are only as effective as their condition during a fire breakout; hence, maintenance is paramount. Unfortunately, most people focus their attention on care, forgetting that proper use of the firefighting equipment is just as important. Since incorrect usage of fire extinguishers can worsen a fire incident, it is vital to familiarise yourself with the safety precautions of using the piece of equipment.
Only Use Dry Powder/CO2 Extinguishers in Open Space
A common mistake people make is thinking that all fire extinguishers can be used anywhere. While there is no doubt that the right fire extinguisher can suppress a small fire, specific conditions dictate usage. An excellent example is choosing where to use dry powder and CO2 fire extinguishers. Notably, dry powder fire extinguishers release a compound that helps suffocate a flame and put it out. On the other hand, CO2 fire extinguishers use carbon dioxide to fight small flames. However, the two fire extinguishers are excellent when used in open spaces with enough air circulating. You should never use a CO2 or dry powder fire extinguisher in a confined space for two main reasons. First, the dry powder and carbon dioxide make breathing difficult for occupants. Second, dry powder reduces visibility in confined spaces, making escape and evacuations challenging.
Review Fire Extinguisher Instructions During Drills
Fire extinguishers come with instructions printed on the canister's label. The steps act as a guide for using a fire extinguisher correctly to avoid any mishaps. However, it is easy to forget the instructions, especially if you do not regularly hold fire drills. Thus, most people attempt to read the instructions as fast as possible when a fire breaks out in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to follow the recommended guidelines if you are supposed to be fighting a fire simultaneously. Therefore, remember to review fire extinguisher instructions during periodic fire drills .
Only Release the Trigger When There Are No Flames
Fire extinguishers release their content the moment you squeeze the trigger, and the nozzle only shuts when you release the trigger. When using a fire extinguisher, most people press the trigger in pulses watching whether flames have gone out. However, that is the last thing you should do because pressing the trigger in pulses allows a fire to consume more oxygen to stay alive. Instead, you should press the trigger and only release it when you do not see any flames or feel any heat. Continuous release of the extinguishing agent chokes a furnace and puts it out.