Common Fire Extinguisher Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Posted May 27, 2024 by Koorsen Fire & Security


Fire extinguishers are essential tools in the fight against small fires, but misconceptions about their use and effectiveness abound. To ensure you are well-informed and equipped for fire emergencies, let's debunk some common fire extinguisher myths and establish the facts.

Questions!  Contact Us Now!

Myth 1: All Fire Extinguishers Are the Same

Fact: Fire extinguishers come in different types, each designed to combat specific fire classes. The most common types are Class A, B, C, D, and K. Multipurpose ABC extinguishers can handle a variety of fire classes, but it's essential to choose the right type based on the specific fire risks in your environment.

Myth 2: You Can Use Water to Extinguish Any Fire

Fact: While water is effective for Class A fires (involving ordinary combustibles), it can be dangerous in the presence of flammable liquids (Class B), electrical fires (Class C ), combustible metals (Class D) and kitchen fires (Class K). Using water on these fires can exacerbate the situation, leading to electric shock or the spread of flammable liquids.

Myth 3: Fire Extinguishers Are Only for Professionals

Fact: Fire extinguishers are designed to be user-friendly, and anyone can use them in an emergency. However, proper training is crucial. Knowing how to operate an extinguisher, understanding its limitations, and recognizing when to evacuate are essential skills for everyone, not just professionals.

Myth 4: Fire Extinguishers Last Forever

Fact: Fire extinguishers have a finite lifespan and must be regularly inspected and maintained. Most extinguishers come with a manufacturer's tag indicating the date of manufacture. It is recommended that extinguishers be replaced or recharged after a specific number of years or if they show signs of damage or corrosion.

Myth 5: Bigger Extinguishers Are Always Better

Fact: The size of the extinguisher should match the fire risk and the user's ability to handle it. While larger extinguishers have more firefighting agent, they can be heavy and challenging for some individuals to operate. It's crucial to choose the right size based on the specific needs of your environment.

Myth 6: Once You Use an Extinguisher, It's Done

Fact: After using a fire extinguisher, even partially, it needs to be recharged or replaced. Once discharged, an extinguisher may not have enough agent or pressure to combat a future fire effectively. Regular maintenance and prompt recharging after use ensure the extinguisher is always ready for action.

Myth 7: Fire Extinguishers Are Only for Putting Out Fires

Fact: Fire extinguishers can also be used as a means of escape. In a situation where the fire is too large to handle or the extinguisher is ineffective, having an extinguisher in hand can provide a shield from the flames while evacuating. Always prioritize safety, and don't hesitate to evacuate if the fire is beyond your control.

Myth 8: You Can Test a Fire Extinguisher by Discharging It

Fact: Testing a fire extinguisher by discharging it, even partially, is not recommended. It depletes the extinguishing agent and may render the extinguisher ineffective when needed. Instead, rely on regular visual inspections and professional maintenance to ensure the extinguisher's readiness.

Myth 9: Fire Extinguishers Are Only for Businesses

Fact: Fire extinguishers are essential for both residential and commercial settings. Every home should have at least one extinguisher strategically placed on each level where it's easily accessible. Residential extinguishers can be crucial for addressing small fires before they escalate.

Myth 10: You Can Use an Extinguisher on Any Type of Fire

Fact: Choosing the right type of extinguisher for the specific fire class is crucial. Using the wrong extinguisher can be ineffective or even dangerous. Understanding the fire classes and having the appropriate extinguisher on hand is essential for a successful response.

Conclusion: Empowering Fire Safety Through Knowledge

Dispelling fire extinguisher myths is crucial for empowering individuals with the knowledge to respond effectively in emergencies. Understanding the different types of extinguishers, their limitations, and the proper techniques for use ensures you are well-prepared for fire incidents. If you want to learn the perfect fire extinguisher plan for your business, contact Koorsen Fire & Security today!

Fire Extinguisher Questions? Click to Contact Us Now!

Topics: Fire Extinguisher

Contact Us Now!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is believed to be reliable, but Koorsen Fire & Security assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this article. It does not constitute professional advice. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information's accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.