How To Use a Foam Fire Extinguisher
When you’re faced with a small fire in the early stages, there might be a chance to prevent it from spreading and safeguard lives by tackling it with a fire extinguisher. Every fire is a little different and you need to be sure you’ve got the right extinguisher to meet the challenge – this is usually dictated by what caused the fire and what is currently fuelling it.
Once you know which type of extinguisher you need, you’ll need to know how to use it safely and effectively. With this in mind, this month at LW Safety, we wanted to give you a guide on how to use a foam fire extinguisher.
Let’s take a quick look at when a foam fire extinguisher should be used and then go through the steps on safe usage.
What type of fires should you use a foam extinguisher for?
Your standard foam fire extinguisher – featuring a cream label – can be used on:
- Class A Fires: those involving standard combustible materials such as wood, paper and textiles
- Class B Fires: those involving flammable liquids such as petrol or alcohol.
How to use a foam extinguisher
It’s important to firstly note that you should only tackle a fire if you’re confident you can do so safely. If the fire has grown too large or you feel you don’t know the best way to combat it, leave it to the fire and rescue services and instead concentrate on safe evacuation.
With that said, here are the steps for using a foam extinguisher:
Step 1 – Locate the extinguisher with a cream label, and remove it from the wall bracket or floor unit.
Step 2 – Hold the bottom carrying handle of the extinguisher only, avoiding accidentally depressing the lever handle on top, and remove the safety pin from the handle, breaking the tamper seal.
Step 3 – Hold and aim the nozzle with one hand and squeeze the lever with the other hand.
Step 4 – Aim the nozzle at the fire in accordance with the type of fire and material you’re dealing with:
- Solid combustibles – you should use the nozzle to direct the foam being discharged at the base of the fire, sweeping across it from a safe distance.
- Flammable liquids – you should aim the foam at a vertical surface close to the fire in order to create a blanket of foam that cuts off oxygen to the fire. Avoid discharging foam straight onto the liquid as this could splash and spread the fire further.
Step 5 – Be sure to fully discharge the extinguisher, covering the area to completely put out the fire and cool the area down. The foam will help to create a cooling layer that reduces the chances of re-ignition.
Some foam extinguisher designs may vary slightly. This is a general overview of the process, but you can get more guidance and training for your staff on how to use fire extinguishers through our fire safety training courses at LW Safety.
Foam Fire Extinguisher Refill
If you have fully or partially discharged your foam fire extinguisher, it’s important to have it refilled or replaced. This will ensure you can adequately tackle any future fires that require the specific use of a foam extinguisher.
Foam Fire Extinguisher Supplier
If you’re unsure whether you need new or replacement foam fire extinguishers for your premises – or if you don’t know what type of extinguisher is best suited to the risks you face, always get the advice of the experts. Here at LW Safety, we provide the supply, installation and siting of fire extinguishers for businesses and commercial premises across Wembley, Harrow and Uxbridge.
Call our team today to discuss your fire extinguisher or fire safety training requirements and we’ll be happy to assist you.