Portable fire extinguishers have limited applications against small fires. When used properly, an extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until firefighters arrive. Fire extinguishers do not replace the need to call Toronto Fire Services. Always call 9-1-1 first when a fire occurs, no matter how small.
Fire extinguishers are not designed for use on large or spreading fires. Even on small fires, they are effective only under the following conditions:
Fire is a combination of three elements: heat, fuel and oxygen. Remove any one of these three elements and the fire will go out.
For example, an ABC multipurpose dry chemical extinguishing agent forms a coating layer over whatever is burning and thereby separates the oxygen from the fuel. The chemical also reduces the heat and interferes with the chemical reaction-combustion process.
In case of fire or an emergency, call 9-1-1.
There are five classes of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers must be labelled to show the class of fire they can extinguish.
The extinguisher must be tested and listed by The Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC). Look for the ULC label on the extinguisher.
Install your extinguishers in plain view, above the reach of children, near an exit route, and away from stoves and heating appliances. Ideal locations for your extinguishers are in the kitchen, workshop, upstairs and at the top of a basement stairwell.
Only fight a fire if
Don’t fight a fire in any other circumstance. Leave the premises immediately, close off the area and call 9-1-1 from a neighbour’s home.
(Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep)
Most extinguishers will operate according to the PASS method. Some extinguishers may not. Read your operator’s manual for specific directions. Remember to recharge the extinguisher immediately after use.
Extinguishers require regular care. Learn how to inspect your extinguisher by reading your operator’s manual. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. Remember to recharge reusable extinguishers and replace disposable models after every use.
Be certain that you use the correct type of extinguisher for the fire you are fighting. If you use the wrong type of of extinguisher, you can endanger yourself and even make the fire worse.
Numbers are also used with letters for extinguishers labelled for class A and B fires. The larger the number, the larger the fire the extinguisher can put out. Extinguishers rated ABC Multipurpose provide the required protection for all of the above types of fire.