In the Office:

Most would not want to help clean up after an office fire. Here are a few tips to prevent an office fire. 1. Know the Emergency phone number 911. 2. Know the location of the fire alarm pull station. 3. Know location of fire extinguishers and how to use them. 4. Use extension cords for temporary reasons only. 5. Keep trash and recycle bins empty. This will reduce the amount of material that can burn.

In the Home:

Being displaced from your home can be a dramatic experience. Avoiding this can be as simple as following these tips for preventing a home fire. 1. Have an escape plan and practice it. 2. Make sure fire extinguishers are on every floor and they are charged. 3. DO NOT overload electrical sockets! 4. Check all appliances and extension cords for frayed or exposed wires. open or damaged wires start many home fires. 5. Have heating and cooling systems cleaned annually. 6. Do not use space heater near combustible materials such as upholstery and drapes. 7. Make certain space heaters are cool before refueling. 8. Unplug heat-producing appliances that are not in use, such as toasters and kettles. 9. Do not use gasoline or other flammable materials to clean. 10. Turn off appliances when not in use. 11. Use the proper fuses in your home. NEVER use pennies, wires or fuses of higher amperage than required to replace burned out fuses.

Smoke Alarm Safety:

Having a smoke alarm cuts your chance of dying nearly in half if you have a home fire. By properly placing, regularly testing and maintaining your alarms, you can ensure that they are in fact working and will alert you if a fire breaks out. Make sure you buy only those alarms that bear the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Some alarms operate using an "ionization" sensor while others use a "photoelectric" sensor. An ionization alarm uses an extremely small quantity of radioactive material to make the air in the alarm chamber conduct electricity. Smoke from a fire interferes with the electrical current and triggers the alarm. A photoelectric alarm uses a tiny light source shining on a light sensitive sensor. The alarm is triggered when smoke from a fire interferes with the light. All tested and labeled smoke alarms offer adequate protection if they are properly installed and maintained. Remember to change the batteries in your smoke alarms every time you change your clocks forward and back during the year to keep your family safe.

Fire Extinguishers:

Each year, fire kills or severely injures thousands of people and destroys millions of dollars worth of property. Many fires start small, and may be extinguished or controlled by a fire extinguisher. You can minimize property damage by having the right type of fire extinguisher and knowing how to use it.

Class A fires include ordinary combustibles such as cloth, paper, wood, plastic and rubber. Symbols for this type are fire are usually a capital “A” inside a green triangle, or an image of a burning wood pile or fire in a trash can.

Class B fires involve hydrocarbon and alcohol based liquids and gases that encourage combustion. Its symbol is a capital “B” inside a red box or an image that looks like a gas can pouring fuel on a fire.

Class C fire involves energized electrical equipment. The symbol for this type of fire is a capital “C” inside a blue circle or an image of a flaming receptacle, cord and plug.

Class D fires, combustible metals are involved such as magnesium, titanium or potassium. Its symbol is a capital “D” inside a yellow star. The extinguishing agent for this type of fire may vary, but must be compatible with the anticipated use.

Class K fires involve animal oils, vegetable and other cooking oils, usually in insulated cooking appliances found in commercial kitchens. Its symbol is an image of a flame in a frying pan.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has classified portable fire extinguishers based on the primary extinguishing agent they contain.

Water This extinguisher contains water and compressed gas. It should be used only on Class A fires of ordinary combustibles. Approach a Class A fire from 30 to 40 feet away with a water extinguisher. The discharge lasts for approximately 60 seconds.

Dry Chemical A dry chemical extinguisher contains a multi-purpose fire suppressing agent propelled by a non-flammable gas. It can be applied from 5 to 20 feet away and the discharge will last for eight to 25 seconds.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) The CO2 is stored as a compressed liquid in the fire extinguisher and cools the air surrounding a fire. Because the gas disperses quickly, apply the stream from three to eight feet away. The discharge will expel for only eight to 30 seconds.

Halon (halogenated gas) extinguishers are used primarily by industry and the military to protect expensive electrical equipment. According to the Montana State Government, halon leaves no residue to harm the electronics and greatly minimizes clean up. It has many uses due to its ability to interrupt the chemical chain reaction that happens when fuels burn. The range of dispersal is limited to four to six feet. Halon gas is hazardous to human health and can cause asphyxiation. Use with extreme caution and proper training.

We recommend that homes should have a small fire extinguisher in an accessible place in case of any small fires. If the fire CAN NOT be put out within 10 seconds please get out of the home and call 911. Do not risk your life or the lives of others in fighting a fire that has grown too large for the extinguisher to put out. Always be sure you have a clear escape path, don't get trapped fighting a fire! If you are unsure how to operate a fire extinguisher, get out. Saving your life and others comes first! Be proactive, use fire prevention measures in the home and at work everyday.

OPERATION:

Remove the fire extinguisher from it's box and mount it in a readily accessible location. Read the operating instructions on the label and become familiar with the units operating components. Be sure to instruct all family members or employees in the use and location of a fire extinguisher. Prepare ahead of time! Do not wait until a fire occurs to read and interpret operating instructions. Although extinguishers may vary slightly in operating procedures, most will use the following steps: 1. Grasp the unit by the carrying handle and the base; remove it from the mounting bracket and carry it to the fire . 2. Pull the locking pin to break the tamper seal. If the unit has a hose, remove the hose from its retaining clip. 3. Move the extinguisher as close to the fire as possible without endangering yourself. Grasp the hose in one hand and press or squeeze the handle or trigger release with the other. (If the unit is a CO2 extinguisher, grasp the horn handle and not the discharge horn, doing so may freeze your hand.). If the unit has no hose, point the nozzle towards the fire. 4. Discharge the contents, of the extinguisher, at the base of the flames using a sweeping side to side motion. Start at the near edge and work to the rear of the fire and then up the vertical surface. Always leave an escape route for yourself when you are fighting a fire.

Kitchen Fire Tip:

Small Kitchen grease fires can be put out with baking soda if a fire extinguisher is not available, NEVER use water.