Fire extinguishers can be dangerous

Whenever I sign out from Hotmail, I get re-directed to the xinmsn page. Xinmsn is full off nonsense news about celebrities.

Today's news was "Qi Yuwu lauded for heroic save".
The MediaCorp actor saw a fire sparks and smoke. He originally wanted to call for help but he saw a fire extinguisher so he tried to put out the fire.

"I have never used a fire extinguisher (laughs), and spent one minute figuring out how to use it before I successfully put out the fire," he revealed over a phone interview with xinmsn.

Things could have gone horribly wrong. He could have gotten burnt from the fire, hurt himself while using the fire extinguisher, cause an explosion from using the wrong type of fire extinguisher or allowed the fire to spread while he figured out how to use the fire extinguisher. He was lucky and became a "hero" for managing to put out the fire. I think it's sort of heroic to try because our first insists would be to run away from the fire (unless it's in your own home - you'll want to try to put it out).

[Read more about the different types of fire extinguishers and dangers.]

I remember participating in fire drills held by the office building management. Most drills would simply require occupants to use the stairs instead of the lifts, assemble in an open area, and the group leader for each company would do a heat count. Like most normal people, many of us would try to avoid the drill by insisting that we are too busy to leave our desks or by going down early for coffee so that we don't have to walk down 10 floors. Fire drills are a pain. But there's a particular one that was educational. A person demonstrated how to use a fire extinguisher, then he invited people to try it. The majority of us continued standing with our arms across our chests; only a few tried it.

The fire drill came in handy when the carpark in the basement caught fire. When the fire alarm went off, people weren't sure whether it was a fire drill or a real fire. We evacuated anyway. We saw smoke coming out of the air vents outside the building. I'm not sure whether anyone unsuccessfully tried to use a fire extinguisher to contain the fire initially. But the next time there's a fire drill in my office building, I'll give it a go.


David said...


A good piece where caution is needed.

Most public places usually place multi purpose extinguishers for public use.

It would be foolish for a water filled extinguisher to be placed in a server room.

We have two multi purpose extinguishers in our home, and one is each of our cars.


Yu-Kym said...

I don't have a fire extinguisher at home. Maybe I should get one...

David said...


A fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, where most home fires start, could be a life saver.