10 Things You Can Use to Put Out Fires
In the event of a fire, there are various household items and natural resources that can put out flames and keep them from spreading. Depending on the type and size of the fire, some extinguishers may work better than others. For the slow burning campfires and grill fires, natural outdoor extinguishers can be used. Whereas, quick burning, indoor fires need to be extinguished right away with a reliable extinguisher. For highly combustible and quick spreading fires, always exit the house or building and call your local fire department. Here are just a few of the many household fire extinguishers you can use in an emergency fire:
Fire extinguishers are designed to put out most types of fires, but each extinguisher is designated for a different type of fire. For example, Class A extinguishers put out fires in ordinary combustibles like wood, paper and trash. Class B extinguishers put out fires from flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and paint, whereas, Class C extinguishers are used on electrical equipment fires. Lastly, Class D extinguishers are used on combustible metals, such as aluminum and potassium. Fire extinguishers should be kept in the house, workplace, kitchen, school and anywhere else a fire might occur. Extinguishers should always be visible and accessible, as well as used on the specified fire.
Water is a natural fire extinguisher that works by diminishing the heat of fire, as well as creating vapor that clouds the fire and keeps it from spreading. Water is easy to gather and works quickly on specific fires. Water and water extinguishers can be used to put out Class A fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, trash, cloth and plastics. Water should never be used on Class B or C fires because water will cause grease fires to splash and spread further, as well as create shock hazards in electrical fires. Home fire sprinkler systems can also be installed to attack a fire in its early stages and keep it from spreading.
A common household item that can be used on fires is likely sitting in your cabinet or refrigerator — baking soda. Baking soda is a sodium bicarbonate, which has various purposes like putting out small grease or electrical kitchen fires. Baking soda will help smother and cool fires at the base of the flame.
One of the quickest and most effective ways of putting out grease or cooking fires is to use a pan lid. Non-glass lids that fit over the pan, skillet or container in which you are cooking in are best to use for smothering a cooking fire. Using a lid will suffocate the fire due to a lack of oxygen, which is needed to sustain combustion. Be sure that the lid has a heat-resistant handle or you wear oven mitts when placing a lid on top of a fire.
Since sodium chloride (salt) is one of the principle extinguishing ingredients in fire extinguishers, it’s no wonder why it made it on the list. By nature, salt dissipates heat and minimizes oxygen when applied to a fire. Table salt can be used to extinguish grease fires that occur on the stove or in the oven. Fire extinguishers that have salt in it are best used on Class D fires in combustible metals, such as potassium, sodium and aluminum.
Soil that is free of flammable organic materials is helpful in extinguishing fires. Soil works like other extinguishing materials by absorbing heat and suffocating the fire. Soil is best used on small outdoor fires and cooking fires that are slow burning. It may need to be combined with water and spread around to smother all flames and ashes.
Like soil, sand produces a similar extinguishing effect of suffocating the fire by absorbing heat and depriving it of oxygen. Generally, sand is better to use than soil in campfires and small fires caused by ordinary combustibles, because it has less flammable materials in it and it’s more dry. However, sand is not a reliable extinguisher for combustible metals.
Mostly made of water, beer is another good alternative to a fire extinguisher. For grill fires, campfires or engine fires, beer can serve as a quick extinguisher when shaken and poured over the flames. Depending on the size of the fire, multiple cans or bottles may be needed to fully extinguish.
Whether this is followed by No. 8 or you’re out of water, urine, believe it or not, can also serve as an effective fire extinguisher. Just like other water-based extinguishers, urine is more than 90 percent water, which is enough to put out a fire. While this isn’t the fastest or easiest extinguishing method, it can be done near a small campfire or outdoor fire. Take caution and privacy when urinating over a fire.
Blankets, Rugs, Towels
If you don’t have access to a fire blanket, then household blankets, rugs, draperies and towels can all be used to put out fires. These items are extremely useful when you or another person is on fire. A blanket or any heavy cloth can be wrapped around the body, clothes or hair and padded to smother the fire.
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