Fire Extinguisher Using Guide

Firefighting and Portable Fire Extinguisher Using Guide

Millions of fire incident happening each year at the workplace in the world, resulting of huge casualties and deaths. Just being familiar and follow the simple firefighting and fire extinguisher using basic guidelines, it’s possible to save valuable life and properties. Including all working personnel in the workplace, everybody should know the basic rules to use fire extinguisher and evacuate procedure if fired in anywhere.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Types of fire extinguishers are not same for every country. Someone follow their own standard, but NFPA standards are very well known and followed by many countries. New Colour Code of Fire Extinguisher
The types of fire extinguisher defined as the types of fire or the class of fire, such as Class A, class B, Class C, Class D and Class K
Type A: Class A fires that involved with normal combustible materials like wood, paper, trash, cloth, different types of plastic or rubber etc. The fire extinguisher that used to extinguish this class of fire is known as Type A fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type A is water, chemical foam, dry chemical etc.
Type B: Class B fires that involved with flammable and combustible liquids like diesel, gasoline, grease, tar, thinner, oil based paints, lacquers, alcohol, flammable gas etc. The fire extinguisher that used to extinguish this class of fire is known as Type B fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type B is carbon dioxide, halon, dry chemical, aqueous film foaming foam etc.
Type C: Class C fires that involved with electrical fire or energized electrical equipment. The fire extinguisher that used to extinguish this class of fire is known as Type C fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type C is carbon dioxide, halon, dry chemical etc.
Type D: Class D fires that involved with combustible metal like sodium, magnesium, titanium etc. The fire extinguisher that used to extinguish this class of fire is known as Type D fire extinguisher. The extinguisher agent for type D is suitable dry powder.
Type K: Class K fires that involved with animals’ fats or oils, vegetable oils, cooking or cafeterian appliances etc. The fire extinguisher that used to extinguish this class of fire is known as Type K fire extinguisher.
Somewhere fire class and fire extinguishers are classified as follows:
Class A: Ordinary Combustibles;
Class B: Flammable and combustible liquids;
Class C: Flammable gases;
Class D: Combustible metals;
Class E: Electrically energized equipment;
Class F: Cooking oils and fats.
Somewhere fire class and fire extinguishers are classified as follows:
Class A – Ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, rags, etc.);
Class B –Flammable Liquids;
Class C – Electrical Equipment;
Class D –Combustible Metals;
Combination Types – ABC and BC.
 
As per British Standards fire extinguishers are as below
BS EN: 2 1992 Classification of fires (ISBN 0 580 21356 0):
Class A fires involving solid materials, usually of an organic nature, in which combustion normally takes places with the formation of glowing embers;
Class B fires involving liquids or liquefiable solids;
Class C fires involving gases;
Class D fires involving metals.
 

Colour Classification of Fire Extinguishers

To identify and find out the right type of extinguisher during fire incident, extinguisher cylinder colour is pre-defined as followed some international standard. The new version of colour classification of fire extinguishers are shown in figure. In the old version of colour classification, the whole body of cylinder was coloured by specific colour; but in newer version whole body of cylinder is coloured by red  and specific colour band is marked on the cylinder what is shown in the above figure.
Older version of fire extinguishers colour classification is the most popular and still using many countries. Both type of colour classification is accepted and using still now.
How find out fire extinguishing agent by colour
Water solid red for both of new and old version, suitable for Class A fire, don’t use for Class B and Class C fire;
Foam red with a blue band for new version what was solid blue in old version, somewhere this colour used for dry powder, suitable for Class A and Class B fire, don’t use for Class F fires;
Foam or AFFF red cream band;
Powder red with a white band, suitable for Class A, Class B and Class E fire;
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) red with a black band for newer version where in older version it is solid black, suitable for Class E fires;
Vaporizing Liquid - Red with Yellow band, Suitable for Class A and Class E fires, don’t use for Class F fires;
Wet Chemical red with an Oatmeal/yellow band in newer version where in older version it is Oatmeal colour, Suitable on Class F fires and may be used on Class A fires, don’t use for Class B Class C fires and Class E fires;
Halon red with green band in newer version where in older version is solid green, suitable for fire with Liquid, Electricity, Wood, Paper, Textiles, Plastics, Coal, Chemicals etc., don’t use in metal involved fire.
 

How Works Fire Extinguisher Agent

Fire Fighter need to know how fire extinguisher agent works and ho to use it:
Dry Powder is very common and well known fire extinguisher agent, there are two types of dry powder that used to fire extinguisher agent- standard and multi purpose.
Dry powder knock down the flame and reduce the fire, multi purpose powder melting to a foam and make a layer on fire and reduce the fire very effectively.
Dry Powder not cool the fire and not effective for small space like inside the equipment.
Water cool the burning materials, suitable to use in solid materials like wood or papers.
Dangerous to use in electricity fire, electricity can conduct and back to you.
Foam forms a blankets film on the surface of the burning liquid. AFFF (Aqueous Film Foaming Foam) is more effective than conventional foam.
Foam also can conduct electricity back to you for electricity fire.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)  is non-flammable and heavier than oxygen, that produce a layer on burning surface removing oxygen and cool the burning surface also.
Carbon Dioxide is not suitable for confined spaces and ventilate is required after fight the fire.
 Wet Chemical the potassium salts emulsify the oils and produce a layer on burning surface of oil or fat, it has a great cooling effect on burning materials.
Limitation is to works only animal and vegetable oil.
Halon is a liquefied compressed gas, it becomes a gas when released on fire, it is suitable for use in aircraft.
Halon contain CFC gas that harmful for environment. 

Guide to Use Portable Fire Extinguisher

Portable Fire Extinguishers can save lives and valuable property by using the extinguishers as possible as early stage of fires. However , they must be the correct type of fire extinguishers for particular class of fire and they must be used correctly.
Just remember the word PASS that will guide to use portable fire extinguishers, PASS is from the initial letter from the phrases uses in fire extinguishers using guide as follow:
Pull the pin, pickup the extinguisher and pull the pin first;
Aim at the base of the fire, cleverly aim where the fire based and ready for action;
Squeeze the handle, squeeze the extinguisher handle to fight the fire;
Sweep side to side.
Some times multiple extinguishers may need to control the fire if it is smaller size compare to larger fire. Portable fire extinguishers is a range of size and ratings, higher the size, higher the ratings. Some times higher sizes extinguishers is not so easy to handle during fire for a single person. Considering this issue, extinguisher can fixed onto a moving trolley that easy to move for fight the fire. 

Location of Fire Extinguishers

Every working floor must be equipped with sufficient fire extinguishers. The type of fire extinguishers should be selected and placed in proper location  as the nature and class of fire.
It is very important to remember, no matter way how carefully you selected the fire extinguishers, if it is not found during fire. So, fire extinguishers location in a workplace should be such a way that it is visible to all, easy and quick accessible during fire. The location of fire extinguishers may follow the standard for employee maximum travel distance to any extinguisher:
· Class A –75 feet;
· Class B –50 feet;
· Class C –Applicable Class A or B distance;
· Class D –75 feet.
Here are some general pointers for where to locate extinguishers in your workplace, Locate them:
  • so that they are visible, along with their operating instructions and identification marks;
  • where they can be easily reached (i.e., they must not be blocked by machines or materials);
  • in or near corridors or aisles leading to exits –however, they must not block aisles;
  • close to potential fire hazards, but not so close that they could be damaged or cut off by a fire;
  • where they will not expose people using them to undue risk, e.g., using a halon extinguisher in an unventilated area;
  • where they will not be damaged by moving trucks, cranes or other work activities, or corroded by chemical processes;
  • so that they are protected against the elements (if stored outdoors).
Fire Extinguishers in Transport Units
All transport unit should be equipped with proper fire extinguishers in accordance with requirements of local fire code. As per ADR 2001, fire extinguishers set up standard for transport is as:
It the transport is not carrying any dangerous goods, then it has to be equipped with at least one portable fire extinguisher of Class A, Class B and Class C with minimum capacity of 2kg dry powder or any suitable extinguishing agent.
But, if the transport is carrying dangerous goods, then it should be take in consideration that transport is equipped or not with automatic extinguishing system for fighting a fire in the engine.
Depending on the transport unit’s permissible maximum mass, one or more portable fire extinguishers for the Class A, Class B and Class C with capacity 2kg, 4kg, 8kg or 12kg may be selected.
The extinguishing agent for fire extinguishers in transport units must be comply and suitable with driver health and influencing heat of the fire.
Location of Fire Extinguisher in Transport
The fire extinguishers in transport should be installed in such away that the vehicle crew can use them easily if there any fire. Vehicle fire extinguishers must be maintenance periodically and keep it functional.

Maintenance of Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguisher maintenance means a thorough examination of the fire extinguisher that intended to give maximum assurance that a portable fire extinguisher will operate effectively and safely during fight the fire.
Fire extinguisher maintenance should be follow firmly, regular checking, refilling damaged one and maintenance after recommended interval is required.
There are three types of maintenance that normally followed for fire extinguishers maintenance, such as-
• Visual inspection each month;
• Maintenance check every year;
• Hydrostatically tested whenever they show new evidence of corrosion or mechanical damage or after-
CO2 : 5 years;
Water : 5 years;
Dry Chemical : 12 years (empty & refill every 6 years);
Halon : 12 years.
Fire extinguishers maintenance procedure must be follow properly, otherwise at the emergency fighting the fire time you will find the extinguisher cylinder empty or date expired agent that’s not work.
Adequate maintenance of fire extinguishers consists of regular inspection, recharge the agents and periodical check up.
Give a quick-check, it is done by verifying the portable fire extinguisher is in its designated place and not used or tampered, means no visible signs of damaged and ready for operation.
Fire extinguishers must be inspect once a month and complete check up annually;
Following the manufacturer instruction recharge the empty cylinder immediately with proper agent and placed the extinguisher to their locations;
Service the extinguishers monthly and annually and replace the defective parts and extinguishers as needed;
Keep record properly all of the inspection, replacing and servicing activities. Record keeping may include: serial number or property number and type of extinguisher; particular location where placed extinguisher; extinguisher inspection date; description of maintenance work or hydrostatic tests carried out; marking the date of next inspection; marking the date of scheduled annual servicing; inspector’s comments; inspector’s name and signature etc.
 

Rules of Fire Fighting and Evacuation System

If you don’t know how to fight with fire promptly then the result may reverse and fire may explode and damage may increase. So, before go to firefighting you must know the right rules of firefighting. Some points are mentioned bellow that will improve the fire fighting technique.
  • Never fight a fire if you don't know what is burning;
  • Never fight a fire if the fire is spreading rapidly beyond the spot where it started;
  • Never fight a fire if you don't have adequate or appropriate equipment;
  • Never fight a fire if you might inhale toxic smoke;
  • Never fight a fire if your instincts tell you not to;
  • The final rule is to always position yourself with an exit or means of escape at your back    before you attempt to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.;
  • Always keep an exit at your back;
  • Activate Fire Alarm/ if not available use hand mic;
  • Call fire fighting station;
  • Assist injured personnel;
  • Exit the building;
  • Assist physically impaired individual; 
  • Ensure all personnel are out of the building;
  • Do not use the elevators;
  • Extinguish small fires;
  • Report hazardous conditions;
  • Stay away from the building until it is safe to return.
Billions of dollars property burning each years by fire, so more important to remember that King’s rules is  preventing is better than fighting the fire to learn fire extinguisher using guide. Proper personnel behavior is important in preventing the initiation of fires. Following prudent fire emergency procedures is important during fire emergencies to avoid loss of life.

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