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Fire extinguisher basics with Spot-On Fire Controls

Fire extinguishers may be found in factories, offices, restaurants, hotels, homes and even vehicles. They often tend to get overlooked and their importance and the safety they provide ignored, until such time as they are urgently needed.


There are various classes of fire extinguishers available in South Africa. The fire extinguisher selected will be dependent on the type of potential hazards that relate to nature of your business’s needs. Using the correct fire extinguisher on the potential class of fire is essential.


Using the wrong extinguisher for a specific class of fire can be dangerous and ineffective. Understanding the limitations of each extinguisher type is crucial for safe fire suppression. In some cases, more than one type of fire extinguisher may be required to ensure that safety standards are met.

  • The most common types of fire extinguishers are:

  • Type A: For ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, and cloth.

  • Type B: For flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil.

  • Type C: For electrical fires.

  • Type D: For flammable metals, such as magnesium and titanium.

  • Type K: For cooking oils, grease or animal fats 


How do you use a fire extinguisher?

Fire extinguishers empty within seconds, and therefore knowing how to operate one is essential. You could risk wasting the contents of the extinguisher without fulfilling its purpose of extinguishing the fire. Once its contents are done, they are done.


If you need to use a fire extinguisher, remember the P.A.S.S method for how to use it safely and effectively. Each letter represents one of the four steps to use the extinguisher.

  • P = Pull the pin. Grab the extinguisher, hold it away from your body, and release the lock pin.

  • A = Aim. Aim the extinguisher towards the base of the fire as directing the contents at the flames or smoke won’t put the fire out.

  • S = Squeeze. Slowly squeeze the lever while pointing at the base of the fire.

  • S = Sweep. Move the extinguisher side to side while squeezing the lever until the fire is out.


When you go through the PASS steps, hopefully this puts the fire out. But fire extinguishers have limitations, if the fire is larger than a rubbish bin, don’t attempt to put it out with a small, standard fire extinguisher. Pull the fire alarm and evacuate the area.


Common Fire Extinguisher Mistakes

Trained fire safety officers:

Ensure those that are in charge of the fire extinguishers are familiar with the operation instructions.


Expiry dates: After expiry fire extinguishers are no longer effective so it is extremely important to keep a record of these dates.


Maintenance checks:

Establish a routine maintenance schedule to inspect and service fire extinguishers. Regular maintenance ensures that the extinguishers are in optimal working condition and ready for immediate use in case of a fire emergency.


Where To Buy Fire Extinguishers?

Spot-On Fire Controls (Pty) Ltd is a Level 1 BBBEE fire protection company servicing businesses in KwaZulu-Natal. The company has 33 years of credible experience in fire protection services. Its expertise includes all aspects of fire protection as well as provides firefighting training, which provides their clients with peace-of-mind knowing that their assets are covered.


We offer, inspections and assessments, supply, installation, and maintenance of fire extinguishers.


For more information contact:

Lungani Nene

T: +27 (0)73 388 8247


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