As part of any fire safety training course, learning how to operate a fire extinguisher correctly is included. Fire extinguisher training is seen as an essential part of workplace health and safety and for good reason – all employers and employees should be familiar with fire safety equipment and fire extinguishers in the event of a fire. Fires unfortunately do happen in workplaces, so it’s very important that everyone has the opportunity to learn how to safely use a fire extinguisher if the need arises. In the event of a fire, it may be up to the people who are there on the scene to try to contain or extinguish the fire while waiting for emergency help to arrive.
So what can be expected during fire extinguisher training?
Identifying the different types of fire extinguisher is usually the first step. There are different types of fires and they are classed as A, B, C, D, E & F. A is ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper, B is flammable liquids, C is flammable gases, D is combustible metals, E is electrical equipment and F is oils and fats.
To give an example of which fire extinguisher is the most suitable to use,for a particular type of fire, a Class A fire (wood/paper) would need a water fire extinguisher as it’s the most suitable for this type of fire. However, foam, wet chemical, C02, dry chemical and vaporising liquid can all be used as well. Fire extinguishers have a coloured band on them to easily identify the most suitable extinguisher to use for the type of fire.
The next step is the practical training component – how to operate a fire extinguisher. Each one has specific ways of releasing the water or chemical so it’s important to practice using a few different types. Having a small, contained fire is best to demonstrate fire extinguisher use as you can see exactly how a fire extinguisher works.
Upon completion of the fire extinguisher training, certification or accreditation usually takes place, but it’s important to remember to do an annual refresher course.