Know Your Water Fire Extinguisher
Water fire extinguishers are appropriate for ordinary types of fires, involving materials like fabric, paper, wood, and other common burnable. They're not effective on fires of other classes, including liquids, kitchen fires, and flammable gases.
Water fire extinguishers use either a cartridge attached to the extinguisher, which is filled with pressurized gas, or pressurize the entire water container. When using a water fire extinguisher, you should be sure to keep a good hold on the hose, and always direct the stream of water at the base of the fire. Never use water fire extinguishers on electrical or grease fires. They may actually spread the fire in the case of burning oil (such as a kitchen fire) and there's a risk of electrocution when water comes into contact with an electrical fire.
To operate a water fire extinguisher, first pull the pin that secures the trigger. Then, aim the extinguisher carefully. Make sure that you have a strong grip on the hose, because water exits these devices at speed and with force. Stand a good distance from the fire and squeeze the handle to discharge the water fire extinguisher. If you let go of the handle, the flow will stop. Then, sweep the flow of water at the base of the fire.
Once the fire appears to be out, keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn't reignite itself. Don't walk on an area that has been burning, even if it appears to be out. These areas can be very hot, and may even catch fire again once you've stopped using the extinguisher. This is less of a danger when using water extinguishers than with other types, which merely displace oxygen, however. If the fire doesn't go out, or you're not sure about your ability to put it out, don't be afraid to leave!
Your extinguisher should be serviced periodically to make sure that it is easy to reach and that the pressure inside is adequate. If you discharge a water fire extinguisher, you should have it recharged immediately. Don't keep these extinguishers in the kitchen, since they can't handle grease fires, or near electronics. However, in cases where ordinary fires are a concern, such as near the fireplace, water fire extinguishers are a good choice.
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