Fire Extinguishers In Ma

Written by Shirley Parker
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Most of us don't pay enough attention to fire extinguishers as we pass by them at the office or wherever else we see them. They're huge, red, heavy things that only strong men can handle. Old style fire extinguishers had a Class A, B, C or D rating label for specific types of fires that they could extinguish. Some were multi-class, with several appropriate labels: a triangle containing an A for ordinary combustibles, a square containing a B for flammable liquids, or a circle containing a C for electrical equipment. The newer, multi-class extinguishers may be labeled A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. Class D extinguishers are only for use on flammable metals. They are not used on other types of fires.

Old fire extinguishers are not easy to recycle. Hazards include the fact that contents are under pressure. If combined with other materials, they may explode. If they're very old, they may contain carbon tetrachloride. Carbon "tet" is a known carcinogen. Ask the fire department where to take them, since they are hazardous waste. If the extinguisher contains sodium bicarbonate, monoammonium phosphate, or carbon dioxide, these are thought not to be hazardous. However, monoammonium phosphate irritates the eyes and respiratory tract, so you'd need to wear goggles and a mask if you were going to discharge it before attempting to recycle.

Other types of fire extinguishers do exist. Try to find the manufacturer's instructions before discharging any of them. If they're no longer attached to the canister, try the Internet or call your local fire department. Just make sure the source is qualified to tell you what to do before doing what they say. Discharge outdoors only, away from children and pets. Carbon dioxide extinguishers can sometimes be refilled. Check the local phone books for nearby service facilities or ask the fire department.

Fire Extinguisher Training

Fire extinguisher training is mandatory for certain employees at work locations, based on OSHA regulations. In addition, a trained employee is going to be more successful at using an extinguisher than one who isn't trained. The faster a fire can be put out, the less the damage and the fewer the injuries. Trainers will bring videos and conduct either indoor or outdoor demonstrations and hands-on training.

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