Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? Do you know of at least one fire extinguisher located somewhere in your workplace? These are valid questions, given that most people do not think about fire extinguishers until the need arises. Yet the reality of fire dictates that there should be a fire extinguisher in every building – be it residential or commercial.
If you are not sure why this is so, a look at global fire statistics should provide a reasonable explanation. In 2018, there were 4.5 million structure fires reported globally. Those fires resulted in more than 30,000 deaths and millions of injuries.
The US was second only to India in the total number of reported fires, with 1.3 million. Great Britain came in at number eight with more than 204,000 reported fires. Interestingly enough, the number of deaths does not necessarily coincide with the reported fire volume. For example, India reported four times as many deaths as the US despite only reporting 20% more fires.
Fire Suppression Saves Lives
Researching fire statistics demonstrates that the disparities between fire volume and reported deaths and injuries are the result of fire suppression strategies. Simply put, in countries where fire suppression is a priority, fewer people are injured or die in structure fires. The opposite is also true.
Something as simple as a residential fire extinguisher mounted on a kitchen wall can mean the difference between life and death in a house fire. In the workplace, the right kind of fire extinguisher can prevent a minor fire from becoming a raging inferno. And when that happens, lives are potentially saved.
The key is choosing the right kind of fire extinguisher. There are different types of extinguishers used to put out different kinds of fires. That is why commercial fire extinguishers tend to be so different from residential extinguishers.
Also, note that fire extinguishers are classified differently in various countries. For instance, the UK and the US have different classifications. They also have different ratings for their fire extinguishers. At any rate, it is important to choose the right kind of fire extinguisher for the type of fire being extinguished.
Fire Extinguishers at Home
Commercial buildings are more likely to be equipped with fire extinguishers or integrated fire suppression systems simply due to national and local regulations. Therefore, the remainder of this post will discuss fire extinguishers at home. Anyone interested in options for commercial buildings can find out more here.
At home, fire is an entirely different animal – albeit no less dangerous. Why? Not because of the nature of fire itself, but because of human nature. We do not think about the fire at home as much as we ought to. It is because we are comfortable in those surroundings.
Think about taking your car to the petrol station. Although buying fuel is a normal activity for most of us, we don’t live in the fuelling station. We also do not buy fuel multiple times per day, every day. Thus, we are more cognizant of the dangers of fire when we do visit.
We are very much aware that a lit cigarette could spark a major fire when fuelling the car. But we pay less attention to that same cigarette starting a fire when smoking in bed. For this reason alone, fire extinguishers at home are critically important. They make up for our lack of cognizance.
Things Can Happen in an Instant
Imagine visiting your older parents in their home. You and your kids are enjoying precious time with family when you hear the smoke detector go off. You rush toward the back of the house only to discover that your parents’ electric heater has malfunctioned and started a fire. That fire is already in the wall. Without a means to put out, the whole house could be engulfed in flames in short order.
These sorts of things happen all the time. They are things we do not expect. After all, how many times have you run the heater without incident? Perhaps hundreds. Yet it only takes one malfunction to create a tragedy you never expected.
Fire extinguishers provide emergency responses to unexpected events. You did not go to your parents’ house expecting to encounter a fire. But because your parents have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, you are able to quickly put it out and thereby avert disaster.
Old and Basic Technology
In closing, few of us find our attention captivated by a discussion on fire extinguishers. Perhaps that’s because they are new and exciting technology? No, they are old, basic technology that just works. This is what makes them so important to have around.
A working fire extinguisher could mean the difference between quickly putting out a fire and watching helplessly as it completely engulfs the building. Whether you own a home, a business or both, do not take chances. Every building you have control over should have at least one fire extinguisher or a built-in fire suppression system.