City of Maumelle Fire Department MaumelleFire.Com
Fire Extinguishers
Everybody has seen fire extinguishers. Many people have them in their car, at home or at work. But not everyone understands them or knows how to work them. Maumelle Fire-Rescue would like for you to have a working knowledge of fire extinguishers. It could save your life or those whom you love.

It's important to know that fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions. An extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. It must be available and in working order, fully charged. The operator should be familiar with the extinguisher so it won't be necessary to read directions during an emergency.

Buy Extinguishers Carefully
Types of Extinguishers

Using a Fire Extinguisher

When to Fight a Fire

Buy Extinguishers Carefully
A fire extinguisher should be "listed" and "labeled" by an independent testing laboratory such as FM (Factory Mutual) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory). The higher the rating number on an A or B fire extinguisher, the more fire it can put out, but high-rated units are often the heavier models. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguisher you are buying.

Remember that extinguishers need care and must be recharged after every use. Ask the dealer about the extinguisher and how it should be serviced and inspected. A partially used unit might as well be empty.

You may need more than one extinguisher in your home. For example, you may want an extinguisher in the kitchen as well as one in the garage or workshop. Each extinguisher should be installed in plain view near an escape route and away from potential fire hazards such as heating appliances.

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Extinguisher Training
Capt. Bullard explains the markings on a fire extinguisher to a group of employees at
Molex during a fire extinguisher class October 2004. Our department makes personnel
available to local industry and civic groups to assist in teaching fire safety subjects.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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Extinguisher Training
Molex employee Mike Leone prepares to extinguish a training fire while
fellow employees (in background, from left) Roy Golden, Michael Hoyleman
and Eric Clingan look on during a fire extinguisher class October 2004.


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.

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Extinguisher Training
Roy Golden extinguishes a training fire with a dry chemical fire extinguisher
during a training class October 2004 taught by Maumelle firefighters.


When to Fight a Fire
You should fight a fire with a fire extinguisher only when all the following are true:
> Everyone has left or is leaving the building.
> The fire department has been called.
> The fire is small and confined to the immediate areas where it started such as in a wastebasket, cushion, small appliance, stove, etc.
> You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
> Your extinguisher is rated for the type of fire you are fighting and is in good working order.
> You have had training in use of the extinguisher and are confident that you can operate it effectively.

Remember, if you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire - DON'T. Instead, get out, closing the door behind you to slow the spread of the fire.

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