Urban Survival Day 49 – Fight a Fire

Posted: April 11, 2013 in Survival/Self Defense
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today has been extremely busy.  Work was a mess and I’ve already posted several times today.  I’m working on a new page for ammo updates as well.  So I’ll keep today’s tip as short and to the point as I can.

49)  Fight a Fire

There are many types of fires and each is handled differently.  If you didn’t know that, please keep reading because improperly “fighting” a fire could cause more harm than good.

  • Common Combustibles – Wood, paper, clothing, plastics, etc.  These are common household items that can generally be put out fairly easily.  Water, smothering, or using a CO2 extinguisher are generally enough to end these types of fires.
  • Flammable Liquids and Gasses – Motor oil, gasoline, solvents.  Using water on these types of fires can actually spread them.  Water will carry the liquid even while its on fire.  To take care of these types of fires, use a CO2 extinguisher.  This will remove oxygen from the air and stop the fire.  You can also smother (using a blanket or other material) fires of this nature because it does the same thing: deprives the fire of its oxygen.
  • Electrical – Wires, outlets, computers, appliances.  These fires are dangerous because in addition to the danger from flames and heat, you can suffer electrical shocks.  DO NOT use water on electrical fires.  You should always use a “Class C CO2 extinguisher”.  This will keep you safely out of the fire’s path and prevent electrical shock.
  • Heavy Metals – Magnesium, lithium, titanium.  While you probably wont experience this type of fire in your day to day life, its still important to know how to handle it.  These metals cause extreme heat when burning and most heavy metals will produce a toxic gas as well.  Some metals may even create an explosion if they catch fire.  To put out a fire like this you need to use a “class D extinguisher“.
  • Cooking Oils – Grease, fat, oil, etc.  These fires burn “hot and fast”.  If you don’t catch these quickly they can spread to other areas of your kitchen or home.  Baking soda is most commonly recommended for dealing with fires like this.  You can also use a “class K extinguisher” which contains sodium bicarbonate.  Again, DO NOT use water on this type of fire.

As you can see, fire has many forms.  Now that you know how to deal with them you can be better prepared.  If you don’t have at least a general fire extinguisher you should definitely go buy one.  Even if you don’t have access to each “class” of extinguisher, having at least one will reduce the potential for disaster.

And if you’ve never used a fire extinguisher before, tomorrow’s update will explain how to do so.  You wont want to miss it!

This post is a combination of my own knowledge and information provided in The Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.  If you can prevent a fire from spreading you should do what you can to stop it, however you should never put yourself in danger.  Use your best judgement and if you can’t put out the fire, make sure you can get to safety.

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