Common fire extinguisher mistakes

fire extinguisher mistakes

Many people would know to use a fire extinguisher to tackle a fire, but how many people would actually know how to operate one if the situation arose? Education on how to use a fire extinguisher is scarce, and it can be difficult to make rational decisions in such high-pressure circumstances. This article is going to detail all the common mistakes we’ve seen people make when using a fire extinguisher, and will help you to use one correctly in an emergency situation.

Not reading the instructions

Every fire extinguisher will have on it detailed instructions citing the exact steps and precautions needed to tackle a fire effectively and safely, and yet many people walk past these fire extinguishers every day without reading them. Reading the instructions in the event of a fire is not the best idea. This is because not only will it use up valuable time, allowing the fire to grow, but it may also be difficult to fully comprehend the instructions in a state of panic. We suggest taking the time out of your day today — or some time very soon — to read over the instructions on your fire extinguisher so you know exactly how to use it if needed. There are various types of fire extinguisher, each which are suited to tackling certain types of fire, and so recognising the type of extinguisher you own and how to use it will be highly beneficial for when it is needed.

Standing too close

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to tackling a fire is standing at the wrong distance in relation to the blaze. Getting the right distance is key; if you’re too far away it’s likely the fire won’t be extinguished effectively but if you’re too close the flames could spread even farther – compromising your physical safety too. The recommended distance to stand is approximately 8 ft away from the blaze. This gives you the best chance of successfully extinguishing the fire.

Where to spray the fire

Another common mistake people often make is to point the extinguisher nozzle at the top of the blaze and make their way down. The effective way to tackle a fire is in fact the opposite: sweep from the bottom. This is because the fuel that is feeding the fire will be at its base. Tackling it from here extinguishes the source of the fire, effectively preventing the fire from growing and making for a much more efficient dousing.

Pulling the pin

In a moment of urgency, forgetting or failing to remove the safety pin is all too common. But remembering to do so is vital, failing to pull the pin will render the extinguisher useless. The pin is in the extinguisher as a measure of precaution — to stop people from pressing it down accidentally. Without removing the pin you will be unable to use the extinguisher at a moment where time is precious.

At Cheshire Fire we supply fire extinguishers among an extensive range of fire safety equipment. In addition, we offer education and training to help you, your organisation or your business to operate the equipment effectively. To enquire further, contact our friendly team today.