S.P.E.E.D. up to P.A.S.S.
By Drew R. Jeffries, Edwards Fire Department, fire inspector
/ Published March 22, 2016
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Have you considered speeding up to pass? Many times on the highways and byways to and from Edwards we find ourselves engaging on this impulsive action. However, in this case, when we say speed up to pass, we are referring to your protection and safety in the event of a fire emergency. All of us pass by the little red thing hanging on the wall in our workplace or in our homes; thinking nothing of it. Similar to bandage strips located in our emergency kits and medicine cabinets, they often collect dust until we cut ourselves or obtain a skin abrasion...suddenly we are glad they were readily available. We can view our fire extinguishers in the same fashion.
The Edwards AFB community may experience different types of fires and you must know the rules to fighting those fires. If you do encounter a fire, then it pays to know how to use a fire extinguisher and how to use it in a way that's safe and effective. To ensure your extinguisher is not subject to fail the moment you need it most, they need to be inspected, tested and maintained.
The main types of fires you may encounter are:
Class A - ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, trash, and plastics
Class B - flammable liquids such as gasoline, petroleum oil and paint
Class C - energized electrical equipment i.e. motors, transformers, and appliances.
Class D - combustible metals such as potassium, sodium, aluminum, and magnesium
Class K - cooking oils and greases such as animal fats and vegetable fats
The main types of extinguishers you may encounter are:
Water Extinguisher - used to fight Class A fires only
Dry Chemical - Class A, B, & C fires (the most common on base)
Wet Chemical - Class K fires (Kitchens & Restaurants)
Dry Powder - Class D Fires (Manufacturing and Mills)
Halon-Clean Agent - (Aircraft and Flight line)
The rules to fighting fire can be accomplished with S.P.E.E.D:
S - Sound the Alarm
P - Phone the Fire Department at 911 or use Pull Station
E - Extinguish, if possible using P.A.S.S. Only if the fire is small and contained; you are safe from toxic smoke; you have a means of escape; and if your instincts tell you it's OK
E - Evacuate the Building
D - Direct the Fire Department to the Fire
To use a fire extinguisher properly in the event of a fire, follow the P.A.S.S. principle:
P - Pull the Pin
A - Aim the Nozzle at the base of the fire
S - Squeeze the Handle
S - Sweep from side to side
Facility managers are required to maintain monthly inspections on all extinguishers in their facility and homeowners should also inspect theirs on a monthly basis.
Items to check for are:
· Extinguisher located in a designated place
· No obstruction to access or visibility
· Operating instructions on name plate legible and facing outward
· Safety seals and/or tamper indicators not broken or missing
· No obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle
· Pressure gauge reading or indicator in the operable range or position
· For wheeled units, the condition of the tires, wheels, carriage, hose and nozzle checked
· Fullness determined by weighing or hefting
Extinguishers with discrepancies shall be removed from service until repaired. Extinguishers are exchanged through the Fire Prevention office at Bldg. 2860.
In addition, all fire extinguishers within base facilities have a white collar ring on them, this shows the month and year of their last maintenance. When inspecting your extinguishers, look at the date and add six years to it. If the extinguisher shows to be over the six years, contact the Fire Prevention Office for replacement.
Ensure all personnel know where fire extinguishers are located, what to do in case of a fire, and the fire reporting phone numbers. On Edwards, those numbers are 911 via a base phone or 661-277-4540/4541 via a cell phone.
For additional information contact your Edwards Fire Prevention Office at 661-277-3643, located at Building 2860.