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Fireaction – Using Fire Extinguishers


Before using ANY fire extinguisher, be sure to have read the instructions before it’s too late.

Although there are many different types of fire extinguishers, all of them operate in a similar manner.

A typical fire extinguisher contains only a few seconds of extinguishing power. This could be shortened if it has already been partially discharged. Always read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher beforehand and become familiarised with its parts. It is highly recommended by fire prevention experts that you get hands-on training before operating a fire extinguisher. At UKV, we show all our staff how to use our Fire Extinguishers.
Once the fire is out, DO NOT just walk away!

Watch the area for a few minutes in case it re-ignites. Alert a Manager so we can have the extinguisher re-charged immediately after use.

Use this acronym as a quick reference:

P                    A                     S                       S

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. This is important – in order 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 back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher – different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!!

Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power.

• Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish. Geometric symbol (green triangle) – we have these at UKV
• Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish. Geometric symbol (red square) – we have these at UKV

• Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive. Geometric symbol (blue circle) – we have these at UKV

• Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating – they are designed for class D fires only. Geometric symbol (Yellow Decagon) -– we DO NOT have these at UKV

• Class K fire extinguishers are for fires that involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances and are typically found in restaurant and cafeteria kitchens. Geometric symbol (black hexagon) – we DO NOT have these at UKV

Some fires may involve a combination of these classifications. OUR fire extinguishers have ABC ratings on them.
At UKV we have Water, Foam & CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Extinguishers in our building.

• Water or Foam extinguishers are used for class A fires – ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.

• Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are used for class B and C fires. CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. The pressure is so great that it is not uncommon for bits of dry ice to shoot out the nozzle. They don’t work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite.
CO2 extinguishers have an advantage over dry chemical extinguishers since they don’t leave a harmful residue – a good choice for an electrical fire on a computer or other electronic device.


(a) Point the nozzle BEFORE you pull the pin.
(b) DO NOT hold the nozzle or touch the nozzle with your hand once you have commenced the operation of the extinguisher. It operates at below freezing and will give you an ice-burn. Your skin could ‘burn’ to the nozzle.

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