A fire extinguisher is the most effective way to put out a fire, not to mention a legal requirement for many premises. However, if your business does not have one currently for whatever reason, it is worth familiarising yourself with ways of putting out a fire without a fire extinguisher. This should only be done if the fire is small and manageable. If the fire is not small and manageable, if your attempts to douse are ineffective, or if you have any doubts whatsoever, then leave the premises calmly via fire escape routes and call the fire brigade.
How to put out a fire without a fire extinguisher
Here are some ways of dealing with minor fires at your premises in the event that a fire extinguisher is not available:
- Kitchen fires: When oil or grease is involved in a fire, such as those that occur in kitchens, then water should never be used. This is because water is denser than oil, meaning that throwing water onto the flames may actually exacerbate a chip pan fire by causing the spraying of hot oil and steam. In the event of chip pan fires or kitchen fires, use a fire blanket to smother the flames and reduce oxygen. Do not toss the blanket onto the fire, as you might miss it. Instead, you should hold the blanket out and place it as carefully as you can on top of the fire. If the fire is too big to fit under the blanket, do not attempt this method. Sprinkling bicarbonate of soda can also be effective on these fire types.
- Electrical fires: As with kitchen fires, flames caused by electrical appliances should not be treated with water, as it can conduct electricity and potentially worsen the situation. If it is safe to do so, turn off the power supply to the appliance or unplug it completely. Then placing bicarbonate of soda or a fire blanket on the fire can help to douse the flames on smaller fires.
- Non-electrical and non-oil fires: Any fire incident that does not involve electricity, oil or grease can usually be doused with water. This usually refers to fires that are the result of paper, cardboard, wood or other flammable materials catching fire.
As previously stated, only attempt to tackle fires if they are minor. Any large fires should not be handled by yourself. Instead, everyone should calmly exit the building and the firefighters should be alerted.
The bottom line
The quickest and most efficient way of tackling a fire is by having appropriate fire extinguishers on standby in key locations at your site.
Remember, if you own or manage a business or commercial premises, you are responsible for the safety of employees and visitors under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This means ensuring that you have appropriate firefighting equipment in place, including fire extinguishers. The number and type of fire extinguisher will depend on the size of your premises and which class of fire certain areas of your premises are most likely to experience, as different extinguishers will discharge different materials.
To ensure you receive the right fire safety equipment for your premises, you’ll need the support of a specialist company that can install and maintain the fire extinguishers to industry standards – a team such as TVF (UK) Limited.
Here at TVF (UK) Limited, we’re experts in commercial fire safety for High Wycombe, Watford and Slough. We have a third-party accredited team of specialists on hand to ensure your premises are compliant with fire safety regulations and measures. Our comprehensive services include the provision of fire extinguishers and fire extinguisher maintenance. Get in touch to learn more.