Fire extinguishers are the first line of defense people have when a fire occurs in their home or business, and if used correctly, can greatly reduce fire damage and potentially save lives. Along with being a confidence builder for someone who could potentially be put in this situation, proper fire extinguisher training helps ensure employees know the correct way to assess a fire situation and how to operate a fire extinguisher. Whether you choose to train your own employees, or hire a professional fire safety crew to train your employees for you, making fire extinguisher training a priority will protect your employees and your business.
Identify Potentially Hazardous Areas
Make sure key areas that are at risk of a fire in your establishment are pointed out to your employees. Normally, fires start in a kitchen or where a heating system is stored. Besides this, it is helpful to point out what items in these areas could catch on fire or what sources could combine together to create larger fires.
Know the Various Types of Fires and Extinguishers
Just like there are different types of fires, there are also different types of extinguishers used to put out specific fires. Educating your employees on the importance of understanding what type of fire is occurring and what proper extinguisher to use is crucial. In fact, if the wrong extinguisher is used on a fire, it could make the fire worse instead of dampening it.
Types of Fires
Common – These fires are categorized as coming from ordinary, combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, etc.
Flammable Liquids – These are fires created by flammable and combustible liquids such as alcohol or gas
Electrical – The source of these fires is electrical equipment
Combustible Metals – These fires are sourced by combustible metals like titanium and magnesium.
Grease or Oil – Vegetable or animal oils create this fire
Classes of Fire Extinguishers
Class A – Designed to combat common fires
Class B – Used for fuel related fires
Class E – Specified for electrical fires
Class F – Designed for oil or grease related fires
Along with pictures of how it should be used, fire extinguishers will display what kind of fire they are designed to put out so a properly trained individual has the ability to know what extinguisher to use.
Learn How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher
The meat of the training will be on learning how to operate the fire extinguisher. First, let employees know where all the fire extinguishers are located so in the event of a fire, they will know where to access one. Instruct employees to check the pressure gauge on a fire extinguisher so they are aware if the pressure is running too low to put out a fire. Teach them and go through the pictographs on the extinguishers before attempting use. A commonly used acronym for using a fire extinguisher is PASS: Pull the pin, Aim the extinguisher at the fire, Squeeze the trigger, and use it in a Sweeping motion at the base of the fire. If a fire safety company is providing the training for your employees, have them demonstrate a simulation to give your employees hands-on practice that will help them feel confident in the event of a fire.
Assessing a Fire Situation
Sometimes, a fire is too large to try to risk your safety trying to put it out. Teaching your employees about how to assess a fire to determine what type it is, and whether it’s at a point where you can try to fight it or abandon it for safety reasons is important in ensuring the safety of your employees.
Fire Extinguisher Specialists
Iowa Fire Control has a commitment to keeping people safe from fire related incidents. IFC specializes in fire extinguisher training that provides hands-on and interactive fire training experiences. Contact Iowa Fire Control to set up a fire extinguisher training or to get your fire extinguishers maintenance today.