When Are Fire Extinguishers Not Useful?

January 28, 2021 2:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Fire extinguishers are essential safety equipment for all businesses. However, they do not replace a functioning fire suppressant system or a call to 911. It’s necessary to know how to use a fire extinguisher, but also to know when fire extinguishers are not useful in Longview, TX. Here are six situations in which a fire extinguisher will not help you:

  • Wrong type: Fire extinguishers are not universally applicable. There are different types of extinguishers for electrical, chemical, kitchen and industrial fires. If your extinguishers do not contain the right fire suppressant, they will not smother the fire, and worse, they may even escalate the situation. Consulting with a fire safety expert is the best way to ensure you equip your business with effective fire extinguishers.
  • Large fires: If the fire is small and contained to a small area, fire extinguishers are excellent tools. Their purpose is to put out fires in the early stages, so they do not grow and cause additional damage. However, if an employee discovers a fire late and the flames are taller than them, it is time to retreat from the premises and call the fire department. Staying back to be a hero with a lone fire extinguisher is ineffective and likely to end tragically.
  • Expired: Fire extinguishers have an expiration date. It is not the suppressant that expires, but the seals around the neck of the extinguisher. When the seals break off, the extinguisher no longer maintains the pressure needed to release a high-pressure, fire-smothering spray of suppressant. Workers operating the extinguisher may put themselves in danger by standing too close or keep spraying useless suppressant in a panic. Do your business and employees a favor and replace expired fire extinguishers.
  • Trapped employees: When using a fire extinguisher, tell employees to turn their back toward the exit. That way, if the fire spreads, they can make a quick getaway. Fire extinguishers should be used early and never as a last line of defense. To ensure further safety, provide fire extinguishers but also install a fire suppression system. These systems buy extra time for employees and customers to leave the building when a fire grows out of control.
  • Lack of maintenance: Once you stock up on fire extinguishers and place them where they are most needed, it is not the time to neglect them. Schedule regular maintenance and inspections. Your fire equipment supply company offers these services, and technicians will confirm that extinguishers remain safe and effective. If any extinguishers fail inspection, your consultant can replace them immediately. Maintaining these inspection and maintenance schedules is the best way to ensure the fire extinguisher works if you need it.
  • Untrained employees: Include fire extinguisher operation in your employee safety training. Teach them the PASS acronym: pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the trigger and sweep back and forth. Putting out a fire depends on quick thinking, and that is only possible from trained and confident employees.

Now that you know the answer to, “When are fire extinguishers not useful?” it is time to check yours. Anchor Safety Inc. provides and maintains fire extinguishers for Longview, TX area businesses. Call us today to schedule a fire safety consultation.

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