>Different types of fires require different kinds of extinguishers. Do a careful analysis of where fires are most likely to occur, and appropriately equip your business, filling station, workshop, boat, vehicle and perhaps even your dive site.
- Use water or foam to contain fires fueled by wood, paper, trash, textiles and other ordinary products.
- Use carbon dioxide, halon or foam where flammable liquids and gases are burning.
- Use carbon dioxide or dry powder for electrical fires.
- Use wet chemical (a soapy foam) for fires caused by cooking oils and fats in a kitchen.
>It's important to have some training with using an extinguisher. Without it, you could get trapped, spread the fire or use the wrong extinguisher for the type of fire, resulting in a burn or possibly acceleration of the fire.
>Ensure that your evacuation route is always kept clear. If there are changes to the building, furniture or hazardous areas, update your evacuation plan accordingly.
>Emergency action plans are essential. Adhere to the following best practices:
- Where the fire is fast and spreading, evacuate and count heads.
- A small, containable fire can be managed using appropriate extinguishers and with training.
- If it is not possible to contain the fire, contain the area — close the doors to isolate the fire even if only temporarily, sound the alarm, get out, and stay out.
- Under no circumstances should anyone go back inside to rescue anyone or anything — you will place the firefighters in more danger.
- No plan is effective without realistic and regular drills.
>Get to know your local firefighting service. Consult them for advice if you are unsure of best practices for fire safety preparation.
>Fires can usually be prevented, prepared for and managed. The cost of being ready doesn't measure up to potential losses or a fatality. Planning for a fire emergency will protect your staff and business investment.
>© Alert Diver — Q1 Winter 2019