Reducing Risks: Step 14 of 20 - Fire-fighting equipment

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Step Number: 
14

Fire extinguishers

 

Only a person specially trained in the use of a fire extinguisher should attempt to use one. Never put yourself or others at risk � personal safety is more important than saving material items that can be replaced.

 

There are different types of portable fire extinguisher for use on different types of fire � using the wrong one can make the situation worse. The latest extinguishers are coloured red with a zone or panel of colour, which indicates the contents of the extinguisher. On older models the colour of the whole fire extinguisher identifies its use.

Electrical fires

Type : Dry powder Colour:

Blue marking

Uses: For burning liquid, electrical fires and flammable liquids

Not to be used :On flammable metal fires

Type : Carbon dioxide

Colour: Black marking

Uses: Safe on all voltages, used on burning liquid and electrical fires and flammable liquids

Not to be used :On flammable metal fires

 

Type : Vaporising liquid Colour:

Green marking

Uses: Safe on all voltages, used on burning liquid and electrical fires and flammable liquids

Not to be used :On flammable metal fires

 

Non-electrical fires

Type : Water

Colour: Red marking

Uses: For wood, paper, textiles, fabric and similar materials

Not to be used :On burning liquid, electrical or flammable metal fires

 

Type : Foam

Colour: Cream/yellow

markings Uses: On burning liquid fires

Not to be used :On electrical or flammable metal fires

 

Fire blankets

Fire blankets are made of fire-resistant material. They are particularly useful for wrapping around a person whose clothing is on fire. A fire blanket must be used calmly and with a firm grip. If the blanket is flapped about, it may fan the fire and cause it to flare up, rather than put it out. When putting a blanket on a victim, protect your own hands with the edge of the cloth. Remember to place the blanket, never throw, into the desired position.

 

Sand

A bucket of sand can be used to soak up liquids, such as chemicals, which are the source of a fire. However, never risk injury. If in doubt, leave the area and phone the emergency services.

 

Remember

Hundreds of people die and thousands of people are injured in fires each year, many caused by lack of concentration or carelessness. It is better to prevent a fire starting in the first place, for example, use chemicals safely and maintain electrical appliances. Even small fires spread very quickly, producing smoke and fumes, which can kill in minutes. If there is any doubt, do not tackle the fire, no matter how small.

 

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