During last year’s Woodworkers Safety Week I did a safety assessment on my shop and one of the things that I found missing was a fire extinguisher. I’m glad to say that I now have one.
The one I chose was one with 2.5 Kgs (5.5lbs) of dry, non-toxic chemical extinguishing agent that is propelled by a compressed, non-flammable gas. This is known as a clean agent fire extinguisher. These types of extinguishers store the agent as a liquid, which turns to gas when it hits the air. Clean agent extinguishers act to extinguish a fire by cooling and smothering it
The Class rating for this extinguisher is 3-A, 40-B, C. The ABC Class rating means that this one is a general purpose extinguisher and good to fight wood, paper and cloth fires (A) as well as flammable liquid (B) and electrical fires (C). The number preceding the A and B rating refers to the size of fire they can handle.
Class A Ratings
An extinguisher for Class A fires could have any one of the following ratings: 1-A, 2-A, 3-A, 4-A, 6-A, 10-A, 20-A, 30-A, and 40-A. A 4-A extinguisher, for example, should extinguish about twice as much fire as a 2-A extinguisher.
Class B Ratings
An extinguisher for Class B fires could have any one of the following ratings: 1-B, 2-B, 5-B, 10-B, 20-B, 30-B, 40-B, and up to 640-B.
Class C Ratings
Extinguishers rated for Class C fires are tested only for electrical conductivity. However, no
extinguisher gets a Class C rating without a Class A and/or Class B rating.
Here’s a great video on how a fire extinguisher works:
Here’s another video on fire extinguisher use that shows some great slow motion action:
There’s a lengthy video located here that gives the proper steps for checking your fire extinguisher as well as its proper use.
Here are also some great links that will give you more information about fire extinguishers, how to choose one and how to use one:
A fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but they have their limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, remember that the number one priority is to get out safely.
Acting quickly with one of these extinguishers may be the difference between a scare and a tragedy. It is recommended that every home and workshop has one.
Do you have one in your shop?
Back to the shop…