When a fire breaks out officials say it’s not only important to call 911, but also to know how to use a fire extinguisher.
As a pilot for Sanford AirMed, Kerry Berg knows every second counts. Berg and the clinical team are learning how to put out a fire while in the air.
“Having this training allows us to really understand a little more completely how to use them and what to use them for,” Berg said.
The aircraft is made of flame resistant materials and holds two extinguishers.
“We’ve all heard about what happens with your iPhones, iPads, and all of the lithium batteries and how dangerous and how hot those fires get,” Berg said.
Ventilators, monitors, infusion pumps and other devices on the aircraft use lithium batteries. Berg says with two to three flights every day this training is crucial.
He says it’s not just at work that an extinguisher is handy, keeping three at home.
Most household extinguishers will last about 10 to 15 seconds.
Fire inspector Tyler Tjeerdsma says extinguishers will buy you time and recommends keeping one near an exit.
“If you do have a small kitchen fire or something you may be able to knock it out, but like I said just make sure you call 911 first. Have the exit to your back, that way if you do challenge the fire and you’re not able to get it out you still have a safe way to exit the home,” Tjeerdsma said.
He also says make sure your extinguisher works.
“Check the manufacturer’s recommendation, but it’s usually five to 15 years. If you look here it’s got the dial, the gauge here, as long as it’s in the green it should be good to go,” Tjeerdsma said.
A simple way to remember how to use it properly is with the acronym P.A.S.S.
“P is you pull the pen right here. A is aim, so you’d aim it at the base of the fire, we want to shoot at the base of the fire. S is squeeze the trigger, and the other S is sweep the fire at the base,” Tjeerdsma said.
Because you never know when you’ll need to use it.
“As far as how to use a fire extinguisher, I think is something valuable for everyone,” Berg said.
Every Wednesday Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is available if you or your business has questions or would like hands on training on how to use a fire extinguisher.