Fire Safety Tips
Types of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire on which they may be used. Fires involving wood or cloth, flammable liquids, electrical, or metal sources react differently to extinguishers. Using one type of extinguisher on the wrong type of fire could be dangerous and make matters even worse.
Traditionally, the labels A,B, C or D have been used to indicate the type of fire on which an extinguisher is to be used.
Type A Label
A Type A label is in a triangle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber and many plastics. These types of fire usually leave ashes after they burn. Type A extinguishers for Ashes.
Type B Label
A Type B label is in a square on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for flammable liquid fires such as oil, gasoline, paints, lacquers, grease, and solvents. These substances often come in barrels. Type B extinguishers for Barrels. Type C Label
A Type C label is in a circle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for electrical fires such as in wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment and other electrical sources. Electricity travels in currents. Type C extinguishers for Currents.
Type D Label
A Type D label is in a star on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for metal fires such as magnesium, titanium and sodium. These types of fire are very dangerous and seldom handled by the general public. Type D for Don’t get involved.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
There is a simple acronym to remember to operate most fire extinguishers – PASS. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep:
- Pull the pin at the top of the cylinder. Some units require the releasing of a lock latch or pressing a puncture lever.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze or press the handle.
- Sweep the contents from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out.
Shut off the extinguisher and then watch carefully for a rekindling of the fire.
Smoke Alarm Tips
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement and in/near every sleeping area. Ensure that all members of your family can hear it.
- Mount alarms high on a wall or on top of the ceiling. Position wall-mounted alarms with the top of the alarm 4-12 inches (10-30 centimeter) from the ceiling.
- Position ceiling-mounted alarms at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) away from the nearest wall.
- Don’t install smoke alarms near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with its operation. The moving air can blow smoke away from the alarm’s sensor.
- To avoid false alarms, keep smoke alarms at least ten feet from stoves and steamy showers.
- Test smoke alarms once a month by pushing the “test button.”
- Install new batteries at least once a year.
- Clean smoke alarms using a vacuum cleaner without removing the alarm’s cover.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Smoke alarms for the hearing impaired have a built in strobe light. The alarm has both an audible and visible signal and can be mounted in ceilings and walls.
The principles of STOP, DROP and ROLL are simple
- Stop, do not run, if your clothes catch on fire.
- Drop to the floor in a prone position.
- Cover your face with your hands to protect it from the flames.
- Roll over and over to smother the fire. Don’t stop until the flames have been extinguished.
Checklist of where to look for problem sources of Carbon Monoxide in the home
- A forced air furnace is frequently the source of leaks and should be carefully inspected.
- Measure the concentration of carbon monoxide in the flue gases.
- Check furnace connections to flue pipes and venting systems to the outside of the home for signs of corrosion, rust gaps, holes.
- Check furnace filters and filtering systems for dirt and blockage.
- Check forced air fans for proper installation and to assure correct air flow of flue gases. Improper furnace blower installation can result in carbon monoxide build-up because toxic gas is blown into rather than out of the house.
- Check the combustion chamber and internal heat exchanger for cracks, holes, metal fatigue or corrosion. Be sure they are clean and free of debris.
- Check burners and ignition system. A flame that is mostly yellow in color in natural gas fired furnaces is often a sign that the fuel is not burning completely and higher levels of carbon monoxide are being released. Oil furnaces with similar problems can give off an oily odor. Remember you can’t smell carbon monoxide.
- Check all venting systems to the outside including flues and chimneys for cracks, corrosion, holes, debris, blockages. Animals and birds can build nests in chimneys preventing gases from escaping.
- Check all other appliances in the home that use flammable fuels such as natural gas, oil, propane, wood or kerosene. Appliances include water heaters, clothes dryers, kitchen ranges, ovens or cooktops: woodburning stoves, gas refrigerators.
- Pilot lights can be a source of carbon monoxide because the by-products of combustion are released inside the home rather than vented outside.
- Be sure space heaters are vented properly. Unvented space heaters that use a flammable fuel such as kerosene can release carbon monoxide into the home.
- Barbecue grills should never be operated indoors under any circumstances nor should stove tops or ovens that operate on flammable fuels be used to heat a residence.
- Check for closed, blocked or bent flues, soot and debris.
- Check the clothes dryer vent opening outside the house for lint.