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Listed in the table below are the various types of fire and what appliances to use in their extinguishment:

Class of fire Type Extinguishing agent Colour of extinguisher Remarks
A Ordinary combustible or fibrous materials Water or Foam Red  
B Flammable or combustible liquids Foam, C02, Halon or dry chemical Extinguishers Cream  
C Electrical Equipment CO2, Halon, or Dry Chemical Extinguishers. Blue Do not use water as it is a good conductor of Electricity
D Combustible Metals Dry Powder Black  

The major accompaniment of a fire occurrence and usually a more lethal consequences of a fire is smoke. This is because one needs to inhale only three puffs of smoke to become unconscious. In case one is trapped in smoke filled room, the experts recommend that they should calmly sit on the floor, and look for a potential exit while seated. This could be the primary exit, which is the door, or the secondary exit, which is the window. If you can break the glass on the window, or the door or the walls, and get to safety, go for it. Otherwise it is safer to crawl out through the door. The reason for crawling is because the smoke usually rises to occupy the top space in the room, and in the process weighs down oxygen. While most people tend to run into the smoke in an attempt to get to safety, it is safer to crawl.

Once outside the room, it is advisable to avoid the lift and use the staircase, in case one is based on the upper floors. This is because power supply in the building can be cut off anytime in case of a fire outbreak, which may stop the operation of the lifts and trap those inside.  Do not take the lift even if you are 100 floors up the building.

Should you find yourself in the balcony, of a building that is on fire, and therefore cannot use the exit routes, get a white rag or a piece of cloth if possible and waive it in the air. The firemen and women are always on the lookout for such signals.

By Kenneth Oballa

Training Manager,


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