Few things are scarier than being faced with a fire. What could possibly make it worse? Well, not having an operational fire extinguisher or not knowing how to use a fire extinguisher might make the situation even more stressful. Here are several common fire extinguisher mistakes that are easily avoided.
Not Knowing How to Use it
One of the more dangerous mistakes people make when it comes to fire extinguishers is not being trained on how to operate one correctly. Reading articles, checking the instructions on your extinguisher, and watching videos online can do some of the work. However, the best way to develop this skill is with hands-on fire extinguisher training. When you’ve done it successfully before, you’ll feel a lot more confident that you can do it again. This will be a huge help if you are ever faced with a fire and need to respond quickly.
Not Getting it Recharged After Use
A common mistake many people make is putting their partially-discharged fire extinguisher back without having it recharged. This is a problem for 2 reasons:
- Fire extinguishers that have been partially discharged are prone to leaking because they don’t always seal tightly once they’ve been used.
- If you experience another fire, your extinguisher may not have enough agent left in it to effectively put it out.
If you ever operate your fire extinguisher without using all of the agent, it is important to remember that it still needs to be recharged.
Losing the Nozzle
If you ever lose the nozzle to your fire extinguisher, make sure that you replace it with the correct nozzle. It’s not uncommon for people to lose the nozzle to their fire extinguisher and either choose not to replace it at all, or replace it with another item or nozzle that is not suitable for the extinguisher. Fire extinguishers come in several different types, all of which are specially designed for specific purposes and agents. If your fire extinguisher doesn’t have the correct nozzle, there’s a chance that it won’t be as effective.
Removing the Nameplate
Removing the nameplate on a fire extinguisher is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Let’s go over why the nameplate on a fire extinguisher is so important.
- It contains critical information. The nameplate shows the unique serial number, year of manufacture, maintenance instructions, safety precautions, weight requirements, and other critical information that is needed to help you keep your extinguisher in good condition.
- It has instructions on operation. While we highly recommend getting fire extinguisher training, the fire extinguisher nameplate also has instructions on it. This can be a huge help when someone is panicking and needs quick instructions on how to use their extinguisher.
- It voids the warranty. A fire extinguisher without a nameplate is an extinguisher without any information attached to it—what type of extinguisher it is, how old it is, who the manufacturer is, etc. Since all of this information is missing, the extinguisher is no longer under warranty once the nameplate comes off.
Not Keeping it Accessible
Fire extinguishers should always be kept somewhere that is easily accessible. In homes, the kitchen is the best area since it is often in a central location of the home. This is also an ideal space because it is where most home fires start. Wherever your home fire extinguisher is located, make sure everyone in your family knows where it is and how to operate it.
Never Inspecting it
Every fire extinguisher should be inspected at least once a year. You can do this yourself, as it is not overly complicated and can be done in a few short minutes. You can also choose to have a professional come out each year to perform a quick inspection and ensure that your extinguisher is still in good working condition if you want a little extra peace of mind.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting
people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.