Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department Open House

This week is “emergency preparedness” week, so today at the Firehall we had an open house & put on a fire extinguisher course. For those who haven’t had an opportunity to use a fire extinguisher, it’s better to know how they work so that in the event of an emergency you are better prepared.

Firstly, it’s important to know that there are different types of fire extinguishers for different fuel loads. Most of them will operate in a similar manner, but it’s good to read the instructions so you are familiar with the type you have.

If you have a kitchen fire in a pot, you might want to consider whether it is safe to slide a lid over it – this sometimes can deprive the fire of oxygen and put the fire out. ***Don’t try to pick up the pot to move it! If is unsafe to slide a lid over the pot, then you will need to make a quick decision on whether you can fight the fire with a fire extinguisher, or if you should call 911.

So, you’ve decided that you can fight the fire then grab your extinguisher, which you keep in a handy location to the kitchen, and remember the acronym “PASS”.

Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher. Try to squeeze the lever prior to trying to put out the fire just to ensure that it is working.

Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.

Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher.

Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. If this does not put the fire out call 911 right away, and make sure everyone is out of the house. Your safety is primary.

Once the fire is out, don't walk away! Watch the area for a several minutes in case it re-ignites.

Once you’ve used your extinguisher it will be important to recharge it after use. They can be recharged at MIFEL (Mid Island Fire Equipment Ltd.)
at 273 Selby Street in Nanaimo, it’s the same place the Gabriola Fire Department refills theirs.

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