Fire extinguishers can save lives and properties. They are a very important safety equipment that should be present in every building. Whether it is residential or commercial buildings, fire extinguishers form a major part of a fire protection system.
Fire incidents are quite rampant and unpredictable. The Singapore Fire Statistics of 2016 carried out by the Singapore Civil Defence Force recorded that the agency responded to about 4114 fire cases in the year with about 62 persons injured. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if there were protection devices such as fire extinguishers in place.
It is not enough to be aware of the importance of fire extinguishers in your building, you also need to know the exact type to buy. Buying and using a wrong fire extinguisher will do more harm than good. If you are replacing an old fire extinguisher, you may find it easy to select a new one. But if you are new to extinguishers, you may need to carefully consider some factors before purchasing one.
As far as extinguishers are concerned, the rule of ‘one-size-fits-all is not applicable. There is a combination of factors you must consider before settling for one.
What you need to know before buying a fire extinguisher:
What Rating Do You Need?
The rating of fire extinguisher is depicted by the number and an alphabet written on it. Home fire extinguishers are often labelled A, B or C, D and F. The alphabets show that they are only meant for types of fires within these categories. These are labelled A-B-C. This simply means the fire extinguisher can be used for fires in categories A, B and C.
There are also numbers proceeding the alphabets. For instance ‘3-A’ or ‘40 –C’. The number is an indicator of how effective the fire extinguisher is. The higher the number, the more effective is the extinguisher. There are fire extinguishers with multi-class ratings.
What Size is Adequate?
The size really does not matter when it comes to effectiveness. A bigger extinguisher only means that you have more volume inside the extinguisher.
How Many Do I Need?
The number of fire extinguishers needed depends on the type of premise where it is to be used and the amount of risk anticipated. You may need the services of a fire expert or a fire extinguisher supplier to give a proper estimate of the number you need. You may also contact the Singapore Civil Defense Force for more information.
Stored Pressure or Cartridge Operated Fire Extinguisher
The stored pressure type is more common and it is used more in residential areas or where the use is expected to be frequent. In this type of fire extinguisher, the expellant and the firefighting agent are stored in the same chamber.
For cartridge operated fire extinguishers, the expellant gas is stored in a separate cartridge. It is not as common and is used more in industrial areas.
How Is It Used?
Knowing how it works is simple. Modern fire extinguishers can be operated successfully by following the acronym PASS. This represents Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
- Pull the extinguishers’ safety pin, hold it away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low and target the source of the flame rather than the flame itself. Ensure that you stand at least 1.8meters away from the fire. Make sure you are not spraying against the wind direction.
- Squeeze the lever evenly and slowly with the extinguisher in an upright position.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side, targeting the source of the flame till either the fire is out or the extinguisher runs dry. Note that it is safer to spray till the extinguisher is exhausted than when you think the fire has been extinguished.
That’s not all. Once it has been used, you need to ensure that the fire extinguisher is either refilled or replaced whether or not the content exhausted.
Still Uncertain on Which Fire Extinguisher To Purchase?
Just in case you still have some questions to ask before deciding on which extinguisher is most appropriate, you can contact a fire expert or fire extinguisher supplier. They have all the information that can help guide you better.