Fire can result in severe property damage, injuries, and fatalities, and around 100,000 people are injured in fires every year. You must understand fire hazards, prevention, safety, and evacuation plans thoroughly to safeguard yourself against tragedies, legal liabilities, and financial troubles. In this article, we’ll discuss fire hazards and how you can use fire extinguishers to de-escalate fires.
Understanding Fire Hazards and Reducing Their Impact
Electrical devices and wiring, kitchenware, flammable liquids, tobacco products, and heating systems are examples of common fire hazards. Clutter and obstructed exits can further increase the risk of a fire; a fire can spread quickly through the clutter, and blocked exits might make it difficult to escape.
Identifying possible dangers and taking action to reduce them are essential components of fire hazard prevention. This can involve doing routine maintenance on electrical systems and appliances, storing flammable materials appropriately, and properly discarding smoking materials. You must also keep walkways and exits free of obstructions. Most importantly, you must adequately educate the people on site regarding fire extinguishing tools and safety procedures.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Maintaining a safe environment at home or your workplace requires the understanding and ability to mitigate fire risks. As per a recent survey, the number of successfully extinguished fires using portable fire extinguishers went up from 80% in 2003 to 93% in 2021. Let’s go over the different types of portable fire extinguishers.
Water-Based Fire Extinguishers
Water-based fire extinguishers include water spray extinguishers and water mist extinguishers, both of which have different usability. Water spray extinguishers work best on carbon-based materials such as paper, wood, coal, and some plastic-based solids and furnishings. They spray water from a narrow nozzle to cover a larger surface area.
And in contrast, water mist extinguishers are much more multi-purpose, as they can extinguish any fire except ones caused by burning metals. They release a fine mist of dry demineralized water particles, decreasing the oxygen supply to the fire to extinguish it. This also makes them usable in cases of electrical fires on machinery up to 1,000 volts. These tools leave no residue or collateral damage and are color-coded red for indication.
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Apart from water mist extinguishers, wet chemical extinguishers are equipped to deal with cooking oil and fat-based fires. They are made of a pressurized mixture of alkali salts and water that produces a fine mist and cools the flames while minimizing splashing. Wet chemical extinguishers are relatively more expensive and are color-coded yellow for indication.
Foam-based extinguishers are effective on water and solid-based fires but not on oil-based ones. So, you can use them on combustible liquids like turpentine, paint, and petrol. If used from a distance of one meter, a foam extinguisher can be used to put out some electrical fires.
The foam in these extinguishers expands as it meets the air and covers the fire, depriving the fire of fuel by preventing vapors from rising from the liquid. It also has a cooling effect because it is combined with water. These fire extinguishers are coded with a cream-colored indication.
Carbon dioxide-based extinguishers are entirely residue-free because they solely contain compressed carbon dioxide gas. These extinguishers, recommended by experts like Stat-X Fire Suppression, are also helpful in taking out liquid-based fires and major electrical fires. They work by suffocating the fire while not damaging electrical equipment. These fire extinguishers are color-coded black.
CO2-based fire extinguishers get cold on usage, which may cause the user’s fingers to freeze if precaution is not observed, and also do not offer post-fire safety as the CO2 is bound to dissipate, and the fire can reignite.
The effectiveness of fire extinguishers against fire-related hazards makes it necessary for homeowners, office staff, and factory workers to get adequate training on using this equipment. Significant loss and fatalities can be prevented due to this brief but essential training.