Extinguishers Have Limits but when used properly a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. Portable extinguishers for home use, however, are not designed to fight large or spreading fires, they are useful only under certain conditions.
The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. There is no time to read directions during an emergency.
The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
The operator must have a clear escape route that will not be blocked by fire.
The extinguisher must match the type of fire being fought. Extinguishers that contain water are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.
The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire. Many portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as 8 to 10 seconds.
Choosing Your Extinguisher depends on knowing the 3 basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fire they can put out (see illustration at right). A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells you that the extinguisher has not been tested for a given class of fire.
CLASS A Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and paper.
CLASS B Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and oil-based paint.
CLASS C Energized electrical equipment — including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, and appliances.
The extinguisher MUST be appropriate for the type of fire being fought. If you use the wrong type of extinguisher, you can endanger yourself and make the fire worse. Multipurpose fire extinguishers marked ABC may be used on all three classes of fires.
Extinguisher Sizes. Portable extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle. This rating will appear on the label — for example, 2A:10B:C. The larger the numbers, the larger the fire that the extinguisher can put out, but higher-rated models are often heavier. Make sure you can hold and operate an extinguisher before you but it.
Installation and Maintenance. Extinguishers should be installed in plain view, above the reach of children, near an escape route, and away from stoves and heating appliances. Extinguishers require routine care. Read your operator’s manual to learn how to inspect your extinguisher. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance. Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use. (Service companies are listed in the Yellow Pages under “Fire Extinguishers.”) Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once and must be replaced after use.
When using a fire extinguisher keep your back to an unobstructed exit and stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure:
Pull the pin: this unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
Aim low: point the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever above the handle: this discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.
Sweep from side to side: moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire reignites, repeat the process.
IMPORTANT: Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site, even if you think you have extinguished the fire completely!
Always have a plan when you burn.
Check to be sure that there are no restrictions on outdoor burning. You can check on burning restrictions by calling the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Forest Resources at 919-733-2162, or www.ncforestservice.gov
Obtain a burn permit. You can obtain a burn permit at the Orange Grove Fire Station 1 located at 6800 Orange Grove Rd Hillsborough, NC or you may apply for a burn permit online using the North Carolina Forest Service web site.
Burn only natural material such as leaves, limbs, and grass. It is illegal to burn household waste.
Burn soon after a rain. Do not burn during drought periods or when there are high winds.
Cut or clear a path around burn piles that is free from any combustible materials.
Keep burn piles at least 1000 feet away from any structures and 250 feet from roads.
Do not use any accelerants to start the fire. Using gasoline to start a fire is extremely dangerous and serious injury or death may result.
Always keep tools such as a shovel and a rake, as well as a water supply, close at hand.
Never leave the fire un-attended.
For more safety information or helpful tips on outdoor burning, contact the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources at 919-732-8105 or visit their web site.
The use of seat belts and child safety seats is paramount to avoiding injury or death in an automobile accident. You can have your Child Safety seat inspected at any of the following locations:
Chapel Hill Fire Station # 2
1003 S. Hamilton Rd (across from Glenn Lenox Shopping center). Hours: Saturday from 2-5 PM. Chapel Hill Administration Phone: 919-968-2781
Carrboro Fire Station 1
301 W. Main St (in downtown Carrboro). Hours: Saturday 9:30-11:30 AM. Phone: 919-918-7347
Carrboro Fire Station 2
1411 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is a poisonous byproduct of all types of incomplete combustion. If you have any fuel-burning appliance in your home or apartment such as gas heat, any gas-fueled appliances, including water heaters, fireplaces, portable heaters, dryers, grills, or any wood-burning appliances such as fireplaces and wood stoves, you should have a CO detector installed on each level of your home.
To prevent carbon monoxide problems in your home be sure to keep all appliances well-maintained, clean, and in good working order. Have professional technicians clean and inspect all equipment on a regular basis.
There are many different styles of CO detectors available in stores. If you purchase an AC powered model we recommend that you also purchase one that operates on battery power as well so that you still have protection in the event of a power outage.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with CO poisoning include flu-like symptoms such as headache, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. CO poison is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Should you be experiencing problems with CO in your home call the fire department immediately
Most fire-related deaths occur as a result of inhaled poisonous gases that are created from combustion. The likelihood of dying in a fire is cut in half by a functioning smoke detector.
At a minimum, smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement. Most fires occur between 8PM and 8AM when most people are sleeping, therefore detectors ideally should be placed outside of every bedroom.
Install smoke detectors away from air vents.
There are more homes with smoke detectors that do not work properly than there are homes that do not have them. Check your detector to be sure that it is functioning properly.
Replace the battery in your smoke detector with a NEW battery twice a year. Do not use batteries that have been used previously in other devices.
Do not take the battery out of a smoke detector that is hard wired into your home. You will have no warning mechanism during events that cause a power outages which also tend to be periods of increased risk for fires.
After installing a smoke detector, create and practice an escape plan which includes an outside safe rendezvous point, such as your mailbox away from your home, should your detector alert. Practice drilling it with your children.
Orange Grove Fire Department offers free battery operated smoke detectors to the residents of the Orange Grove Fire District. Please feel free to stop be our Station 1 Monday through Friday from 6:00 am until 6:00pm to receive smoke detectors.
If your clothes catch fire, do not run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover you face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cool the burn with water and call for help.
If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor, where the air will be cleaner.
Cool a Burn by running cool water over it for 10 to 15 minutes. Never apply ice, and never put butter or any other grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
Use Electricity Safely, and if an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Plug only one electrical cord into each receptacle. Avoid running any cords under rugs. Never tamper with your fuse box or use improper size fuses.