What Are Fire Extinguishers:
Fire extinguishers are used to drench a fire and prevent it from spreading. They are small metal containers that have compressed nitrogen inside. When activated, the fire extinguisher releases a concentrated amount of chemicals that are flame retardant.
The History Of Fire Extinguishers
While we all know the importance of fire extinguishers in our daily safety, these humble quenchers play a crucial role in our history too. Probably, at one point, you have wondered how fire extinguishers were made and how it becomes a staple in business and homes all over the world. Check out the highlights of how these bright red canisters loaded with potent fire dousing chemicals developed and advanced over the years.
200 B.C. – Ctesibius of Alexandria made a hand pump to put water into fires. It replaced the burdensome method of passing buckets from one person to another to deliver water to the fire.
1600’s – During this era, squirts were crafted. These are like bicycle pumps and was initially used to douse the fire during the 1666 Great Fire of London.
1819 – Captain George Manby made the first-ever transportable fire extinguisher. The canister is made of copper and sprayed a solution of potassium carbonate with the aid of compressed air.
1904 – Alexander Loran invented the extinguisher that contains chemical foam derived from his invention of a foam that fights the fire.
1911 – Pyrene patented a compact and transportable extinguisher that utilized chemical.
1912 – The Pyrene Manufacturing Company of Delaware submitted a patent for the use of CTC or carbon tetrachloride to douse fires. The vaporized liquid extinguishes the flames by preventing the chain reaction of the chemicals present in the combustion process. It was also during this year that the model was mass produced.
The model is a chrome or brass vessel that expels liquid through the use of a hand pump. It has a capacity of 1.1 liters but it was made available in up to 9 –liter size. They discovered that it was effective in dousing electrical and liquid fires. However, the chemicals are extremely toxic which resulted in several deaths especially when applied in a small and confined area.
1924 – The cO2 or carbon dioxide extinguisher was crafted. It was composed of a tall cylinder made of metal that contained 7.5 –pounds of carbon dioxide. It was equipped with a woven brass, a hose covered with cotton, a wheel valve and a funnel-like composite that served as a nozzle. Up to this day, the carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is still widely used.
1928 –DuGas released a dry chemical extinguisher that is operated by a cartridge. It was composed of a cylinder made of copper and equipped with a carbon dioxide cartridge on the inside. The wheel valve needs to be turned to perforate the cartridge. Also, the lever on the valve must be squeezed to release the chemical.
The 1940s –During these years Germany made liquid CBM or chlorobromomethane that was used in aircraft. It was less toxic and more effective compared to carbon tetrachloride. The liquid CBM was used until 1969.
The 1970s – Halon 1211 arrived from Europe to the US. In 1954, DuPont developed the Halon 1301. Both models worked by preventing the fire’s chain reaction. Until today Halon is still used but because of its impact in the environment, it is falling out of favor.
Mid Twentieth Century – The contemporary fire extinguisher was introduced. Since then, this model comes in different forms and variations.
Different Classes Of Fire Extinguishers And There Uses
There are various types of fire extinguishers that you can use to fight different classes of fire. In the event of a fire, the last thing that you would like to do is to read the writings on the fire extinguisher to find out if you can use it to fight the fire. Being able to identify the different classes of fire extinguisher could make a significant difference.
Fires have different forms, therefore it is very important that you are familiar with how to properly extinguish different types of fire.
Fires come in many forms, so you need to familiarize yourself with how to properly and swiftly extinguish whichever type of fire you face.
What Are The Different Classes Of Fires?
Fires can be easily put out if you know the type of materials involved. It is for this reason that a fire is classified into one of six categories. They are the following:
This type of fire is also known as ordinary combustibles. It is caused by common flammable materials like wood, trash, paper, plastics, and fabrics to name a few. This type of fire is common in various industries; the most common is the trash fires. It is easily put out with monoammonium phosphate or simply water.
This type of fire is distinguished as one that uses gas or flammable liquids for its fuel base. Among common liquid-based fuel sources are gasoline, kerosene, and paints and oils that are petroleum-based. Gases like propane or butane are also considered usual fuel sources. This type of fire is usually found in industries that involve lubricants, fuels, or paints. The most common way to put out this type of fire is to remove the oxygen.
This type of fire originates from things that utilize electricity or have electrical components. Also known as electrical fires, most often, they are caused by motors, transformers, and electronic appliances. It is common in industries that involve energy. It is also common in industries that fabricate heavy equipment powered by electricity. However, there are several instances where electrical fires occur in a smaller setting. This includes an overloaded electrical outlet and faulty electrical wiring. In order to extinguish the electrical fire, you need to cut off the power and use chemicals that are non-conductive.
This type of fire is caused by combustible metal. This includes potassium, titanium, aluminum, and magnesium. There are also other metals with combustible properties that may cause Class D fire. This fire usually happens in laboratories. This could also happen in industries that utilize combustible metals as components of their production. In order to douse this type of fire, you must use a dry powder agent. It does not only absorb the heat of the fire but also oppresses it.
This type of fire is caused by combustive liquids used in the preparation of food. This includes vegetable oils, greases, fats, cooking oils, and animal fats. Class F fires usually occur in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This type of fire is very dangerous and very destructive. Therefore, it is important that you use fire extinguishers that contain wet chemicals in order to douse this type of fire.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
In case of fire, the first thing that set your eyes and you laid your hands on is the fire extinguisher. Therefore, it is very important that it is in optimal condition so it could function as intended. To ensure that your fire extinguisher is in prime condition, it must be serviced and checked regularly.
As pressurized containers, fire extinguishers can explode when damaged or eaten by corrosion. This could cause injuries, accidents, and even death. Most of the time, several business owners are not really particular on the condition of their fire extinguishers until a chance to use them arises.
Any type of public facility is required to undergo yearly testing of the fire extinguishers inside their buildings. Because fire extinguishers are essential during the fire, it is important to have one that is properly working for the safety of the public and the establishment. The Fire Safety Order of 2005 requires firefighting equipment to be properly maintained. It must be in an efficient and working order.
There are a couple of maintenance procedures for fire extinguishers. These are through a visual inspection and through maintenance conducted by a skilled person.
Visual Basic Inspection
When conducting a visual inspection of the fire extinguisher, it is important that it should be recorded and performed on a monthly basis. It must cover the following:
- Location. Checking if the fire extinguisher is located in its proper place
- Visibility. Check if your fire extinguisher is positioned in a place that can be easily seen
- Operating Instructions. Are the instructions visible? Is it facing outwards? Is it clean and can be easily read?
- The condition of the fire extinguisher. Check for obvious damage. Is there any sign of corrosion? Has it been recently used? Are there any parts missing?
- Pressure. Check if the pressure of the fire extinguisher meets its safe operating restrictions
- Seals. Check the seals for any signs of tampering. Are the indicators broken?
Conducted By a Competent Person
As for the other method of maintenance, it is best if you seek the help of a professional. There are several businesses that offer maintenance and servicing of fire extinguishers. Since fire extinguishers are complicated and very crucial in protecting your house or business from fire, hire a professional or a reliable service company.
They will perform a thorough inspection, maintenance, and even servicing of your fire extinguishers. Basically, they will inspect the correct pressure level of your fire extinguisher as well as signs of tampering or damage.
When hiring a professional or a service company to do the annual or monthly maintenance and checkup of your extinguisher, it is important you have a fire extinguisher service contract or a fire extinguisher service agreement. If there is none, you can create your own by using a fire extinguisher service contract template. There are also numerous samples of fire extinguisher maintenance contracts that you can find online, you can print it and have the service company sign it.
Content First Appeared on: Legal Notes