Extinguishing 5 fire safety myths

Extinguishing 5 fire safety myths

Posted on Nov 11, 2016
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Extinguishing 5 fire safety myths

 

 

Don’t make light of a serious subject.

To round up our series of ‘myths’ blogs we decided to take a look into the world of fire safety and extinguish (you’re welcome) the myths surrounding the subject.

 

1. "In a fire, it’s the flames that cause the most casualties."

False. Most deaths in a fire are a result of breathing in smoke. In as little as 3 to 5 minutes, smoke can fill a house and create complete darkness, even during daylight. Smoke can kill in two ways. It can suffocate you by filling a room and cutting off your access to sufficient oxygen. It can also fill your lungs with toxic gases that are a by-product of the many different materials burning in a fire (plastics, synthetic fabrics, paints and coatings, household chemicals, etc). This is why it is so critical to get out of a burning home quickly.

 

2. "The smell of smoke will wake me."

False. Most fatal fires occur at night, because people are very rarely woken by the smell smoke. If they are, it’s likely that the fire and smoke have spread so far by then it would make escaping extremely difficult. A smoke alarm (or detector) is your best chance of early warning – so make sure yours are all fitted correctly and are tested regularly.

 

3. "The first ever fire extinguisher invented contained gunpowder."

True! The first recorded fire extinguisher was patented in England in 1723 by Ambrose Godfrey. It was made from a cask of fire-extinguishing liquid containing a pewter chamber of gunpowder. This was connected with a system of fuses which, when ignited, exploded the gunpowder and scattered the solution. As you may have guessed, it wasn’t too effective.

 

4. "Once alarms and extinguishers have been fitted, I can forget about them."

False. As a business owner, or the responsible person you need to ensure that all equipment, such as alarms and extinguishers are properly installed, tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers must be appropriate to your premises (remember that different rules apply to different types of workplace), and must – like the alarms – be positioned sensibly so they are easily accessible.

 

5. "Fire extinguishers must be replaced every 10 years."

False. There is no maximum shelf life, or ‘use by’ date for a fire extinguisher. Some bodies recommend a 20 year limit, but in practice an extinguisher can continue in service indefinitely as long as the extinguisher has no damage, defect or corrosion rendering it unsafe for use. The following are few signs it’s time to get yours serviced or replaced:

  • The hose or nozzle is cracked, ripped, or blocked with debris.
  • The locking pin on the handle is missing or unsealed.
  • The handle is wobbly or broken.


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You may think it’s pretty obvious that throwing a fire extinguisher at a fire won’t put it out, or in the case of a fire, you need to exit building before tweeting about it. You might be surprised what your staff understand about fire safety and the do’s and don’ts when it comes to good practice and staying safe.

Learn everything you need to when it comes to fire safety by signing up with flick learning today. You’ll have access to over 30 courses when you register with us, as well as lots of extra resources, and downloadable guides. We’ve even come up with a handy way to remember which fire extinguisher you need for which type of fire! So what are you waiting for?

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