By Chad Kelly for The Island Connection
When we think of small fires and the need to extinguish the fire while small most people think of a fire extinguisher. The problem in both our homes and our businesses is a fire extinguisher is the last thing we think about unless there is a fire. In this article we are going to discuss how to maintain your extinguisher so it will work when you need it.
If you do not feel comfortable using an extinguisher, then don’t. Go outside, closing all doors on your way and call 911.
Fire extinguishers in businesses are supposed to be serviced annually by a licensed person. This does not mean the extinguisher in your home shouldn’t be.
This service ensures proper weight, lack of damage, proper pressure, etc. Fire extinguishers in both homes and businesses should be checked monthly.
To check your extinguisher you:
• Look at the pin to ensure it is still secured in place.
• Check the hose to ensure it is free of cracks and powder
• Check the gauge to ensure it is still in the green
• Check the cylinder for signs of rust or damage
• Flip the extinguisher several times to loosen the powder
Fire extinguishers are to be mounted to be visible and accessible. In many businesses the fire extinguishers are obstructed. We need to ensure that we have a clear path to the extinguisher in case of emergency.
In many homes the extinguisher is placed under the sink. As we place things in the cabinet the extinguisher gets pushed further and further back. To prevent this mount the extinguisher to the wall. If you want to place the extinguisher in the cabinet mount the extinguisher just inside the door to keep it in place.
Always remember that an extinguisher is only for use on a small fire. A small fire is considered to be no larger than a small waste basket. Never attempt to use multiple extinguishers to extinguish a fire. Once your first extinguisher is empty close the door, go outside, notify the fire department, and stay outside.
If you follow these tips your fire extinguisher should be ready when you need it. As always if you have any questions or need a smoke detector installed feel free to contact the St. John’s Fire/Rescue, Fire Prevention Division.