Fire Extinguisher Tips

Fire extinguishers help to save lives and protect property.

Poor maintenance and incorrect usage of fire extinguishers in the home are two key reasons small house fires can spread, endangering lives and causing considerable damage to property.

House fires can be brought under control within the first few minutes of ignition, if attended to correctly with an extinguisher that is well maintained it can buy valuable time before the fire brigade arrives.

Exelgard recommends homeowners follow the tips below to ensure correct usage and maintenance of extinguishers in the home.

Before attempting to fight a fire (no matter how small):

  • Ensure everyone is or has evacuated the building
  • Notify the fire brigade
  • Make sure there is a clear, unobstructed escape route
  • If the fire starts to spread or threatens the escape route, leave immediately

When using the extinguisher:

  • Pull the pin (some extinguishers require releasing a lock latch, pressing a puncture lever or other motion).
  • Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or it’s horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle (this releases the extinguishing agent).
  • Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the fire area in case fire breaks out again, and repeat use of extinguisher if necessary.

Maintenance tips:

  • Yellow extinguishers are illegal to possess or use on a fire as they contain emissions that affect the ozone layer. Return to local fire stations for accredited disposal.
  • Extinguishers should be pressure tested or replaced every 5 years as per AS 1851-2005. Pressure testing can be done by a registered extinguisher service organisation such as Wormald.
  • Check that there are no blockages to the nozzle or outlet.
  • Turn the extinguisher upside down for 10 minutes every six months to ensure that the powder is free flowing.
  • Replace the extinguisher in case of rust on the cylinder or any damage to the handle.
  • If an extinguisher is discharged, even partially, it needs to be refilled by a registered fire extinguisher service organisation, such as Wormald.

F.A.S.T Facts

  • Extinguishers need to be pressure tested every 5 years
  • Partially discharged extinguishers need to be refilled
  • Ensure everyone in the home/office knows the location of the extinguisher and how to use it

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