Fire Safety Devices – Fire Extinguishers

 

Fire ExtinguishersWhat type to use and how to use them

  • Fire extinguishers should only be used in the following circumstances:
  • When everyone has been evacuated and accounted for at a safe meeting place.
  • When the fire service has been called.
  • When it is safe to do so considering the size and location of the fire.
  • Access to the fire is unrestricted and a safe retreat is possible at all times.
  • Remember life is more important than property, don’t put yourself or others at risk.
  • Only when everyone is outside and the fire service has been called, should you attempt to put the fire out, and only if it is contained and you can safely escape.

 

What type of fire extinguisher do I need?

Fire is divided into 6 classes. Note: This is a new classification – be aware that most extinguishers will be labelled with the old four classification.

Some extinguishers are more suitable than others for putting out the different classes of fire.

Note: Under the Ozone Layer Protection Act 1996, it is illegal to use or maintain Halon extinguishers.

 

Where should I install the fire extinguisher?

  • Fire Extinguishers should be wall mounted above the normal reach of children, and in or near the kitchen.
  • If it is in the kitchen, don’t put it to close to the stove or cooking surfaces.
  • Ideally have another extinguisher in the garage and one in the car.
  • Caravans should have one attached to the inside of the door.
  • Boats should have one mounted in a protected area where it can be reached from the open deck.

 

Operating the extinguisher

  • Always carefully read the instructions on the side of the extinguisher, and make everyone staying in the house aware of where it is and how to use it.
  • Most extinguishers require a safety pin or clip to be removed before a trigger can be operated.
  • Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, keeping yourself low, and work the extinguisher in a sweeping motion from left to right.
  • Don’t start too close to the fire ( most extinguishers are designed to be operated from about 2 – 3 metres away).

 

Fire Extinguishers

Preferred Choice
Of Fire Extinguishers
Alternative Choice
Of Fire Extinguishers
Comments
HouseWet Chemical and ABE
Dry PowderNZS 4503
Minimum Rating  1A:E
Preferred Rating 1A:E:IF
ABE Dry Powder and Fire Blanket
  1. A cooking oil or fat fire in the kitchen is the most likely fire that could occur in your home so the first choice of an extinguisher should be suitable for extinguishing cooking oil and fat fires.
  2. While an ABE dry powder extinguisher is suitable for mist fire hazards in the home, it is not suitable for use on cooking oil or fat fires.
  3. A wet chemical extinguisher is best for extinguishing cooking oil and fat fires, and is also suitable for most other fire hazards in the home.  However wet chemical extinguishers should not be used on fires with a live electrical source.
  4. In order to protect against the widest range of fire hazards in your home, both an ABE dry powder extinguisher and a wet chemical extinguisher are required.
  5. A fire blanket may be used as an alternative to a wet chemical extinguisher for cooking oil and fat fires.
  6. The wet chemical extinguisher or fire blanket should be positioned close to the kitchen, on an escape route to the outside.
  7. As electricity may pose a significant secondary hazard, ensure power is isolated before extinguishing a stove top fire.
GarageABE Dry PowderNZS 4503
Minimum rating 2A:20B:E
Preferred rating 2A:40B:E
Foam
  1. Unwanted fires in a garage or shed will most likely be influenced by the hobbies and activities carried out in the shed or garage.
  2. Flammable liquid fires present a significant hazard due to the presence of fuels, paints and solvents in the garage or shed.
CarABE Dry PowderFoam
  1. Fires in cars are most likely to occur because of a collision, repairs to bodywork using welding equipment or electrical faults.
  2. The presence of flammable fuels is probably of greatest concern.
  3. The electrical equipment is not of concern due to the low voltages.
  4. The extinguisher should be securely fastened, preferably in the boot space, to avoid risk of injury in the event of a collision.
BoatWet Chemical and ABE Dry PowderABE Dry Powder and Fire BlanketFoam
  1. Boat fires are also most likely to involve flammable liquids or as a result of a gas explosion from leaking LPG or CNG.
  2. Wet chemical extinguishers are not suitable for use on liquid fuel fires.
  3. Foam extinguishers will have limited effect on cooking oil and fat fires.
  4. The electrical supply on the boat will need to be considered if a 230-volt system is present.  Wet chemical and foam extinguishers are not suitable for use on live electrical sources.

 

CaravanWet chemical and ABE Dry PowderABE Dry Powder and Fire Blanket
  1. A cooking oil or fat fire in the kitchen is the most likely fire that could occur in your caravan so the first choice of extinguisher should be suitable for extinguishing cooking oils and should be positioned close to the escape route to the outside.

 

information courtesy of Fire and Emergency New Zealand

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