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What is Fire Extinguisher training?
Employers need to identify what their responsibilities are. Your fire risk assessment will determine the need for this training. If your organisation holds Fire Extinguishers in the organisation it is highly recommended that these staff are trained in how to use these extinguishers. Fire Extinguisher training is either a bolt on to any Fire Marshal or Fire Awareness course, or alternatively, it can acts as a course in itself.
This course is extremely popular for attendees having already completed some level of fire safety training as it adds a practical element to fire safety training which is by nature quite a theoretical course.
Who is Fire Extinguisher training for?
Any organisation with 5 or more staff members must comply with the Fire safety order of 2005, having extinguishers on site is part of this order. This Fire Extinguisher training is specifically designed for companies where their fire risk assessment is not exclusively evacuation. Even if it is, you do not want your staff using an extinguisher the first time when their life depends on it.
Fire Extinguisher Training Options
- Bolt on – This is the most cost-effective way to conduct this training. It is charged at £175 + VAT for 15 people when combined with any Fire Marshal or Fire Awareness group booking. This Fire Extinguisher training would add an additional 45 min to any private course booking.
- Independently – Alternatively, this course can be run totally independently, we recommend a short course on the different types of Fire Extinguishers before going outside to deliver the practical training. This independent Fire Extinguisher course is charged at £250 + VAT for 15 people.
- Space, an outdoor space is essential to this training. This cannot be done indoors. We recommend at least two car parking spaces worth of space.
- Physically fit and able to pick an extinguisher up.
As you know fire needs three elements to survive: oxygen, heat (an ignition source) and a source of fuel. If one of these elements are taken away, the fire will die out. Fire extinguishers work by reducing the amount of oxygen around the fire or reducing the heat (or both). Fire extinguishers are tools proven to help fight fire, but there should always training made available on how to use them.
All Fire extinguishers held at your premise should be serviced annually to ensure they remain in good working order should they be needed in case of a Fire.
It is the responsibility of the business owner or responsible person(s) of a building to ensure that extinguishers are serviced in accordance to the BS 5306-3:2017.
We at Siren training highly recommend you carry monthly basic checks on your own extinguishers and get them professionally serviced annually.
For your own check we recommend the following:
- Location – is your extinguisher in the right place?
- Visibility – is the extinguisher positioned in such a way that it can be easily seen?
- Operating instructions – are the instructions facing outwards, clean and easy to read?
- Condition – has the extinguisher been used, is there any obvious damage on the extinguisher or are there any missing parts?
- Extinguisher pressure – is the pressure within safe operating limits?
- Tamper seals – have the seals of the extinguisher tamper indicators been broken?
A qualified technician should be hired annually to ensure these checks are carried out.
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Fire Extinguishers Safety Checks
Fire extinguishers should be checked annually by a trained fire extinguisher engineer and meet the standards as set in the fire safety risk assessment. They should also be inspected throughout the year through a quick visual check to ensure that the extinguisher is not rusting or has any signs of corrosion or leakage. It should also be inspected to check that the safety pin is still firmly in place, the pressure gauge is still in the green area, it’s placed in an accessible location with appropriate signage and finally, that it has received it’s annual service by a trained engineer.
How to operate a fire extinguisher? Fire Extinguisher use
You should only attempt using a fire extinguisher if you have been trained to do so and it is safe enough, meaning the fire is small and relatively contained (about the size of a waste paper bin).
Only use an extinguisher when:
- You are trained to do so
- You are familiar with the type of extinguisher(s) available and know you are using the correct one for the type of fire
- The fire alarm has been raised, and people are acting accordingly
- Fire services have been called
Do not use an extinguisher if:
- The fire is bigger than a waste paper bin
- The room is filled with smoke
- The fire is spreading
- There are deadly combustibles present (like gas canisters)
- More than one extinguisher is needed to contain the fire
You can operate a fire extinguisher by remembering the P.A.S.S acronym:
P – Pull the pin and break the seal
A – Aim at the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the handle
S – Sweep back and forth at the base of the flames until they die out
Fire extinguishers are there to prevent small fires from spreading. They will not have much effect on larger fires therefore it is unsafe to attempt to. If you suspect a fire extinguisher will not help in the first place, then be sure to leave the area through the nearest safe fire escape route and leave it to fire services to deal with.
5 types of fire extinguishers their colours and uses
There are different types of fire extinguishers available, and they are identified by the colour label they have on them. They should only be used on specific surfaces so be aware of what these labels mean. Only someone who is trained in operating the fire extinguisher should use it.
Red Fire Extinguisher
The water cools the heat, helping contain the fire and eventually having it die down. This extinguisher should only be used on solid surfaces like wood, paper, straw, coal, etc. and never on electricals, kitchen fires (cooking oil or burning pan) or flammable metal fires.
Cream Fire Extinguisher
The foam extinguisher can be used on everything that a water extinguisher can, as well as flammable liquids. The foam smothers flames and also cools. Do not use this extinguisher on kitchen fires, electricals or flammable metal fires.
Blue Fire Extinguisher
Dry powder can be used on most types of fires, including electrical ones, although it may cause some damage. It should not be used on cooking oil fires. There are different types of dry powder extinguishers, so be sure to carefully read and understand the label.
Black Fire Extinguisher
The carbon dioxide extinguisher can be used on any type of electrical fire, including live wires. It is also effective against flammable liquids such as paint. It works by replacing the oxygen that the fire is thriving on with carbon dioxide instead. Like the others do not use this on oil fires. It also should not be used in a small space. The hose can also freeze up and cause burns to skin if it came into direct contact.
Yellow Fire Extinguisher
Yellow label wet chemical extinguishers are the only type you can use on fires involving cooking oils. It comes out as a mist and works with the oil to form a layer on the top that smothers the fire. It should not be used on mineral oil, spirits or petrol fires.
While not a traditional style fire extinguisher, fire blankets tackle small fires without chemicals. Instead, it uses fire retardant material to smother flames.
(ONLY USE IF YOU FEEL CONFIDENT TO DO SO)
To use, you should always turn off the heat source, if possible to do so safely, before pulling the blanket from the case. Hold the blanket out fully ensuring your hands are covered by the blanket. You can then place the blanket on top of the object on fire and leave it in situ for at least 30 minutes. This should only ever be used if the fire is small enough to be covered by the blanket comfortably, otherwise use an appropriate extinguisher. Many are also manufactured for single-use, so make sure to replace it if it has been used.