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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher and the Importance of Recharging It After Use

Once every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to an emergency call regarding a fire. 

Is your business ready when it comes to fire protection? 

While developing an evacuation plan and assigning roles in your office is important, ensuring that you know how to operate a fire extinguisher -- and that those fire extinguishers are in working condition -- is also key. 

In this post, we'll walk you through the steps you need to know to understand how to use a fire extinguisher and discuss the importance of proper maintenance and recharging. 

We'll also tell you where you can go to find the top fire extinguisher sales and services in the Greater Dallas area.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

First, let's make sure you're clear on how to use a fire extinguisher. 

While it's not as difficult as you may fear, you still need to follow specific steps to use a fire extinguisher properly, safely, and above all, effectively. 

Let's take a look at those steps now. 

  1. Immediate Response

    The first thing that you should do in the event of a fire is to call the fire department, evacuate people from your building. Then, locate the nearest fire extinguisher.

    Once you have it, make sure to do a few things first before you spring into action. Always keep your back towards the nearest exit, and do not turn around to avoid disorientation.

    The proper way to use a fire extinguisher is to stand between 8-12 feet from the fire. This distance is necessary because standing too close is incredibly dangerous, and because the lack of oxygen could become a serious problem for inhalation and burn risk. 
  1. Next Steps

    Once you have a proper distance between yourself and the flames, you're ready to use the fire extinguisher.

    Begin by pulling out the pin that's inside of the handle. To do so, tightly grab hold of the ring and yank the pin out from the handle's side.

    Before you spray, make certain that the nozzle is pointed towards the fire, and not in your direction (it sounds simple, but it's easy to make this mistake when you're in a panic.)

    Then, prepare to aim the hose properly.

    Grip the lower handle (the one you use to carry the extinguisher) with one hand, and then direct the nozzle with your other hand. When you aim, the goal is for you to point the nozzle at the base of the fire, and not at the tip of the flames.

    This will help you to eliminate the fuel source and control the fire.

    Once you're ready, prepare for a recoil and squeeze the lever to release the extinguisher solution. Make slow, steady, and sweeping motions at the base of the fire. The goal here is to keep your pressure consistent throughout the extinguishing process.

    When you notice the flames beginning to fie down, you can move in a bit closer.

    Only release your hands from the nozzle when you're certain the fire is out -- and be sure to eliminate embers, too.
  1. Other Tips

    There are a few other things to keep in mind when it comes to proper fire extinguisher instructions.

    If the room has already filled with smoke, evacuate immediately and do not try to put out the fire. Inhaling too much smoke can make you unconscious. Stay below the smoke line when you leave, crawling on your hands and knees and covering your mouth.

    Remember that fire extinguishers are only meant to be used on smaller and contained fires. If the flames are already much taller than you are, do not attempt to extinguish the flames. Just use the fire extinguisher to safely evacuate. 

Why Is Recharging Your Fire Extinguisher So Important?

If your business is in the Greater Dallas area, we hope you're well aware of the fact that the Dallas County Fire code requires you to hire a professional service to inspect and certify your fire extinguishers once a year -- though regularly scheduled maintenance is always a smart move. (Click here for more information regarding the regulations of the Fire Code.) 

But even those companies that already have a fire extinguisher maintenance plan in place overlook one key factor: you should absolutely recharge your fire extinguisher after every use -- even if it was used for a short time in a demonstration.

We know you don't want to think about what could happen if your fire extinguisher stops working completely or runs out in the middle of an emergency. 

Also, bear in mind that a fire extinguisher recharge is more than a refill. 

Professionals will inspect the extinguisher to account for any pressure changes in the device. Even if you only used the extinguisher for a short spray, and even if it still has pressure left, the powder around the valve system will allow the fire extinguisher to slowly leak pressure unnecessarily. 

The longer the internal parts of the extinguisher, like the valve stem or o-rings, come into contact with this powder, the faster they'll dry out and be unable to hold pressure. 

Always make recharging a priority after using a fire extinguisher. 

In Need of Fire Extinguisher Services?

We hope that this post has made you feel much more confident when it comes to understanding how to use a fire extinguisher and why proper maintenance is so essential. 

When it comes to your safety, and the safety of your customers and employees, there's simply no reason to take a chance. 

Are you looking to purchase quality fire extinguishers? Keep in mind that there are different classes of extinguishers and you'll need to make the right choice for your work environment. 

Whether you're ready to purchase fire extinguishers, need to schedule maintenance and inspections, or if you want to learn more about commercial kitchen fire suppression systems and emergency exit lighting, reach out to us today to make sure you have the tools you need.