Fire Extinguisher Training!

Posted by on Jul 14 2009 | Behind The Scenes

How many of us have a Fire Extinguisher under our kitchen sink, in the trunk of our car, or walk by one each day at work? How many of us have actually had the opportunity to pull the pin and fire off the contents?

Archivist Joe Struble practices his new Fire Fighting skills.

Archivist Joe Struble practices his new Fire Fighting skills.

A cloud of white smoke could be seen rising from the parking lot at George Eastman House, however this was not smoke. Don Ezard, Head of Security, had been saving up old fire extinguishers so that staff could practice using a fire extinguisher, providing a hands-on experience with this safety tool and demystifying the device. About ten staff members were on hand for Don’s demonstration of the devices, and then each took turns emptying one from the pile. The smallest extinguishers only provided a few seconds of blast, and would be great for small fires, but some of the larger cans would have allowed for extended use.

So what did I take away?

  1. The most important part of fire safety is making sure that people are safe. If the fire is too big, leave it to the professionals.
  2. To Use a Fire Extinguisher
    1. Operate the Extinguisher from a safe distance.
    2. Pull the Pin: It is actually really easy to pull out, even if it has a plastic safety ring wrapped around it.
    3. Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!
    4. Squeeze the lever/handle slowly.
    5. Sweep from side to side while still aiming at the base of the fire.
  3. Know where your fire extinguishers are located: you don’t want to be searching for one when the fire starts.
  4. Fire extinguishers have a shelf life: Some of the oldest ones no longer worked or the hoses leaked when they were used.
  5. The chemicals in the fire extinguisher can make a big mess and leave a residue behind, so thanks to those who cleaned up ours yesterday!

 For more photos click here.

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    Jamie M. Allen is an Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs at George Eastman House. She is a graduate of The University of Arizona, Tucson (2000) and holds a MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University (2006).

    2 comments for now

    2 Responses to “Fire Extinguisher Training!”

    1. joe struble

      Great reporting on an offbeat moment of life here at GEH. Moreover the information is important and well presented. Leave it to you, Jamie!

      15 Jul 2009 at 7:49 am

    2. Fire training is very important whether it be for a home or in the workplace. Many people do not even know how to use a fire extinguisher if they should find themselves in a situation that requires it.

      23 Jul 2009 at 1:21 pm