Course 1 - Fire & Portable Fire Extinguishers

To Complete the Exam, please read each section and checkmark each box after completing the section.
Fire fighting professionals state that uncontrolled fires double in size every 8 seconds. It is imperative that you know what to do in the event of a fire and to do it quick. All big fires start small. By reviewing the information below, we believe you can be prepared to control and fight small fires. No matter how small the fire, get the Fire Department backup by calling 911. In case, the fire spreads or gets out of control, you have professional backup. In case you put it out before they showed up, you get a pat on the back!

USE YOUR JUDGMENT

When you see smoke or fire you should use your own good judgment before you decide to extinguish the blaze. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the fire limited in size and spread?
  • Will you have an escape route if something goes wrong?
  • Do you know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher?

If you are confident the fire is controllable and your safety is ensured, attempt to put it out. If the answer to any of these questions is no, evacuate the area immediately.

COMMUNICATE

Once you have decided to extinguish the blaze, make every reasonable attempt to tell at least one other person what you are doing. This person should call 911 and report your activity to someone else as soon as possible.

THINK FAST AND ACT WITH CAUTION

When you first discover a fire determine what to do immediately. If the fire is small and you have the proper fire extinguishers, and you know how to use it, PUT IT OUT.

SOUND THE ALARM: Do not underestimate any fire. If the fire is too much for you to handle, report it immediately and evacuate.

WARN THE PEOPLE: Warn all people in the area immediately so they can get to places of safety. This is especially important in the case of fires in buildings.
STAND BY: Stay near, but at a safe distance from the fire. Meet and tell the fire fighters where the fire is. They can waste valuable minutes if they have to find it themselves.
FIRE FIGHTING: Everyone is responsible for preventing fires. The portable Fire Extinguishers in the work area can control small fires, i.e., in a trash can, small solvent tank, under the hood of an automobile tank, etc. Anything bigger than that, leave it to the Fire Department. In essence, never jeopardize your safety, leave it to the pros. Also, never join in the fire fighting unless your help is requested by the firemen.

READY THE EXTINGUISHER

You must select the proper extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are classified according to the type of fires they extinguish. It is very important to use the proper extinguisher. Some extinguishers are rated for more than one class. Some are for only one type of fire. Just be sure the extinguisher you're using is rated for the fire you're extinguishing.

  • Class A: Use on ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
  • Class B: Use on flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable paint.
  • Class C: Use on energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
  • Class D: Use on flammable solids such as magnesium. Certain automobile parts are now constructed of magnesium and would need such fire extinguishers especially if you work in a body shop. If you do not have one, ask your manager to get one.
NEVER use a water-type extinguisher on live electrical equipment. You can be electrocuted instantly by the electrical current following the water stream to you body. NEVER throw a stream of water on a CLASS B fire. You can splatter flaming liquids over a wide area, spreading the fire out of control. The good news is that generally fire extinguishers at an automobile dealership are type ABC, which means you can use them on any A or B or C fire.

READY THE EXTINGUISHER

  • Quickly but carefully remove the extinguisher from its mounting bracket. It may be heavy, so use caution when lifting it.
  • Stand about six feet from the fire. If the fire is close to a gas tank or stored compressed flammable gases, and the hazard of an explosion exists, evacuate the area immediately.
  • Extend the nozzle toward the fire.

USE THE EXTINGUISHER

Once the extinguisher is ready, you are ready to release the extinguishing agent. This must be done properly. For example, if you squeeze the handle before you have aimed the nozzle properly, valuable time and extinguishing agent will be wasted.

A technique to remember for using an extinguisher is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is known as the P.A.S.S. Technique.

The P.A.S.S. Technique:

  1. Pull out the pin securing the handle and thus breaking the seal.
  2. Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire and not into the flames.
  3. Squeeze the handle. (Do not be startled by the noise or velocity of the agent as it is released.)
  4. Sweep the stream from side to side across the base of the fire until it is completely out. Be alert for re-ignition. If this happens, use the extinguisher till it is empty.

Once the fire is out, back carefully away from the scene. This will enable you to know immediately if the fire re-ignites.

Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher the right way is an important skill. Sometimes, though, in spite of your best efforts, your attempt may fail. The last point to remember about using a fire extinguisher is what to do if your efforts fail. It is really quite simple. If you cannot extinguish the blaze or it recurs repeatedly, evacuate the area immediately. Fire Department backup should be able to handle the fire.
The best time to familiarize yourself with potential fire hazards in your work area is before a fire happens. Knowing the hazards that exist, and what types of fires could occur are critical skills to working safely. You can also use this knowledge to make sure the proper type of fire extinguisher is available should the need arise.
I have reviewed the information above and understand the safety issues involved with fire extinguishers. Further, I agree to abide by the safety requirements discussed above.
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(i.e. 05/05/2005)
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