A few tips on buying fire equipment
(Extinguishers & Fire Blankets)
Before i go further i will stress that i have worked in the fire protection industry and i am a firefighter. Please dont think that this is intended to scare you off from buying these items from ebay selers, its intended as a basic guide.
A few things to beware of when buying a fire extinguisher for your house, boat, caravan or car.
- Firstly, if buying an extinguisher which is second hand, check that it hasnt been discharged (empty or part-full) Its no use buying a fire extinguisher only to see that the damn thing doesnt work when you need it to. Ask the seller or check the item description.
- Check that the extinguisher you're going to buy is the correct one for the type of fire you'll need it for. For example, if you want a extinguisher for your car, select a Dry Chemical (Powder) extinguisher with an ABE Powder, this will put out fires such as A Class fires (textiles/clothing), B (Oils, Petrol) E (Electrical) Fires. For your House (Eg Kitchen) a BE (B&E Class) Extinguisher is suitable.
If youre not sure Telephone/Visit your local fire station for advice, they will be more than happy to advise you on what extinguisher's right for the intended use.
- Also, and importantly if you ever have to use a fire extinguisher on a fire, Dont attempt to fight the fire unless youre confident of tackling the fire. IF IN DOUBT -GET OUT & CALL 000
- FIRE BLANKETS - Usually sold in 1.0 x 1.0 Metre, usually this is enough to cover a stove top fire, simple to use, turn off the stove, pull the tabs on the fire blanket and slowly and carefully drape over the fire. Call the fire brigade and leave it to cool.
- If buying a new extinguisher or blanket, only buy from sellers that are in your country. (This saves on postage, customs and other hassles) It also ensures that your'e buying an approved item (e.g Standards Australia, BS Kite Mark, UL Listing)
- Never "test" an extinguisher to see if it's working, you'll make a mess, and have to fork out for the cost of a re-fill.
All fire extinguishers, especially Co2 (Carbon Dioxide) need to be pressure tested every 6yrs in australia, so bear that in mind when buying a used Co2 extinguisher. So, ask when that was last performed.
- Maitenance and inspection... Any extinguisher over 1.0kg needs to be checked every 6months by a fire protection company, this can be costly, however shop around by calling a few companies and getting quotes. Dry Chemical Extinguishers up to 1.0 kg need to be checked every 6 months, this can be done yourself by taking it out of the bracket, check that the pressure gage is in "CHARGED" and gently inverting (turn upside down), then placed back in the bracket.
Again, Please dont think that this is intended to scare you off from buying these items from ebay selers, its intended as a basic guide. I've seen first hand what can happen when people through good intentions buy the wrong type of extinguisher or faulty equipment.
Again, if youre not sure, speak to your local fire brigade. They're more than happy to advise you on what you need or contact a fire protection company, they can be found in the yellow pages.
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