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Fire Extinguishers

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Page 0 of 8 Introduction Fire extinguishers are fire protection devices used, in an emergency, to control or extinguish small fires. A small fire, if not checked immediately, will soon spread out of control. In fact, most big fires start out as small ones. It is important, therefore, that you equip your workplace with the proper fire extinguishers as part of your fire protection plan. It's also the law. For a fire extinguisher to be effective, the following conditions must be met: the extinguisher must be right for the type of fire; it must be located where it can be easily reached; it must be in good working order; the fire must be discovered while it is still small; and the person using the extinguisher must be trained to use it properly. This guideline discusses fire extinguishing methods, types of extinguishers and their proper selection, location, identification, maintenance and use. It also covers employee training and outlines the legal requirements for extinguishers in workplaces. Fire Extinguishing Methods Fires can be extinguished in one or four ways: 1. By cooling: Water is used to cool the burning material below the temperature at which it starts to burn 2. By smothering: Carbon dioxide (CO2) or foaming agents are used to smother the burning material so that air is excluded 3. By removing the fuel source: (an example is turning off a fuel line) 4. By disrupting the chemical chain reaction or interrupting the flame: Dry chemicals or halon are used to do this Types of Extinguishers To help in choosing the proper extinguisher, fires are classed A, B, C, or D, according to the type of fuel (e.g., paper, grease, oil) that is involved in the fire. Extinguishers are available for use on one or more classes of fire, depending on the extinguishing agent they contain (e.g., water, chemicals). Figure 1, on the next page, will help you to match types of extinguishers to different classes of fire. Some extinguishers are suitable for one class of fire only; others can fight two or even three classes of fire. However, no extinguisher will fight all four classes of fire. Figure 2 gives examples of specific types of fire extinguishers, how they work, and the class(es) of fire on which they can be used. FIrE ExTInguIshErs

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