Water Fire Extinguishers - How to Use Them

Water fire extinguishers are one of the most common fire extinguishers used in homes and businesses. They effectively extinguish Class A fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, and cloth. Knowing how to use a water fire extinguisher properly is essential for effective fire suppression and preventing injuries or property damage.

This article will cover everything you need to know about using water fire extinguishers, including how they work, when, and how to use them safely and effectively.

How do water fire extinguishers work?

Water fire extinguishers work by removing heat from a fire. They do this by spraying a stream of water onto the burning material, which cools the flames and reduces the temperature of the fuel. This process also helps to prevent re-ignition by removing the heat necessary for the fire to continue burning.

Water fire extinguishers are most effective against Class A fires involving ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, and cloth. They are unsuitable for Class B fires (involving flammable liquids) or Class C fires (involving electrical equipment).

When should you use a water fire extinguisher?

You should use a water fire extinguisher when a fire involves ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, or cloth. This type of fire is classified as a Class A fire and can get effectively extinguished using a water fire extinguisher.

It is important to note that water fire extinguishers should not get used on fires involving flammable liquids (Class B fires) or electrical equipment (Class C fires). Using water on these types of fires can be dangerous and can cause the fire to spread or result in electrical shock.

Safety precautions when using water fire extinguishers

When using a water fire extinguisher, it is essential to follow these safety precautions:

  • Ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for the fire you are trying to extinguish.
  • Before attempting to extinguish a fire, always call the fire department and evacuate the building.
  • Ensure you are using the extinguisher from a safe distance to avoid injury from flames, smoke, or heat.
  • Always stand with an exit behind you so you can easily escape if necessary.
  • Use the extinguisher in a sweeping motion, aiming at the base of the fire.
  • Do not use water fire extinguishers on Class B or C fires, as this can be dangerous.

How to use a water fire extinguisher

Using a water fire extinguisher is straightforward. Follow these steps:

  1. Pull the pin: The first step is to pull the pin from the extinguisher handle, which will break the tamper seal and prepare the extinguisher for use.
  2. Aim at the base of the fire: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, not the flames, which will help to extinguish the fire more effectively.
  3. Squeeze the handle: Squeeze the handle to release the water onto the fire. Use a sweeping motion from side to side to extinguish the fire.
  4. Keep a safe distance: Stand at a safe distance from the fire to avoid injury from flames, smoke, or heat.
  5. Monitor the fire: Even after using the water fire extinguisher, monitoring the fire is essential to ensure it doesn’t reignite. If the fire does reignite, use the extinguisher again or call the fire department.
  6. Evacuate the area: Once you have extinguished the fire, evacuate immediately and call the fire department. They will need to inspect the area to ensure the fire is entirely out, and there is no risk of it reigniting.
Animated graphic of fire extinguisher extinguishing fire
Ordinary Combustible logo with green A

FAQs About Using Water Fire Extinguishers:

No, water fire extinguishers should not be used on electrical fires, as water is a conductor of electricity and can cause electrical shock.

Stand at least six feet from the fire using a water fire extinguisher to avoid injury from flames, smoke, or heat.

Yes, water fire extinguishers can get refilled after use. However, having them professionally inspected and serviced is essential to ensure they are in proper working condition.

Water fire extinguishers should get inspected and serviced annually to ensure they are in good working condition.

Conclusion

Knowing how to use a water fire extinguisher properly is essential for effective fire suppression and preventing injuries or property damage. By following the safety precautions, aiming at the base of the fire, and using a sweeping motion, you can extinguish Class A fires and prevent them from reigniting.

Remember that water fire extinguishers should not get used on Class B or C fires and that if the fire is too large or out of control, you should evacuate the area and call the fire department immediately.

Being prepared and knowing how to use a water fire extinguisher can help prevent fires from causing severe damage and harm.