CHRIS STITES, SAFETY ENGINEERING & CLAIMS MANAGEMENT
First off smoke kills!
Believe it or not, some professionals may question whether they can pull a fire alarm. As I’m sure you already know, anyone that witnesses smoke or fire can and should pull a fire alarm without hesitation! I’ve received this question more than once in my career as a safety professional. Take measures to be sure that your staff is aware of their responsibility to pull that fire alarm in a situation that demands such action. As the old saying goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
A house-hold fire extinguisher contains up to 10 seconds of extinguishing power, while the average commercial fire extinguisher contains up to 15 seconds of extinguishing power. During those 10-15 seconds, the extinguishing agent will exit the extinguisher will full force. You must realize however that these times decrease if the extinguisher has been partially discharged previously, or if the extinguisher has lost pressure (you do inspect your extinguishers regularly, right?). In a fire emergency, seconds matter.
To use an extinguisher, remember this acronym as a quick reference (PASS):
Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.
Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. To put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.
Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.
Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher nozzle back and forth until the fire is completely out. Start the process from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Remember, aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!!
Fire extinguishers should be checked monthly to ensure they are full. In addition, they should be inspected by a professional annually. Read and understand the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher. If you are purchasing a fire extinguisher for household use, it should be an ABC type extinguisher. The same would go for most public entity locations. There are exceptions, but a fire protection specialist can provide you proper guidance should there be any question.
We highly recommend everyone receives hands-on training before operating a fire extinguisher. TNRMT/ SEC will be more than happy to present this topic, but hands on training should be handled by fire services. Most local fire departments offer this service.
Additional support is available at any time from your loss control consultant! Please feel free to contact Mark Bilyeu, Chris Stites or Jason Baggett.
Jason Baggett – (865) 850-4995
Chris Stites – (615) 289-4101
Mark Bilyeu – (615) 210-7827