Armed with the right type of fire extinguisher, a property owner can often extinguish or contain a fire before it becomes a major blaze. But to effectively fight a fire, an individual must be prepared with the right type of extinguisher, have it readily available, and know how to use it properly. Failure to be properly prepared to extinguish a fire not only reduces the chances of containing the blaze, but may also place the individual in an extremely hazardous situation. Purposes & Locations for Fire Extinguishers The main reasons for having fire extinguishers readily available are to:
  • Suppress a fire along an escape route so trapped persons can exit a burning structure.
  • To extinguish or contain a fire from the time it is discovered until the arrival of fire department personnel.
Farm buildings and farm equipment should also be equipped with fire extinguishers. The farm shop is a particularly fire prone area due to the types of equipment used. Welders and cutting torches can quickly ignite any combustible material not properly stored. At least one 10-pound ABC extinguisher should be wall mounted in the shop for easy accessibility. It is a good practice to have at least one ABC type extinguisher in all farm buildings and in other areas where there is a risk of a fire, such as around grain drying and processing equipment. Fire extinguishers should also be mounted on tractors, combines, trucks and other equipment. Because most fires associated with these types of equipment are from petroleum products or electrical fires, a five-pound ABC or a BC type extinguisher will be adequate. To cut down the cost of purchasing several extinguishers, mounting brackets can be attached to equipment and the extinguisher can be transferred from seasonal equipment when it is to be stored for several months. Types of Fire Extinguishers There are several types of fire extinguishers available, but the best type for farm use is a multipurpose "ABC" type extinguisher. ABC type extinguishers generally use ammonium phosphate as the active chemical to extinguish a fire and are capable of putting out most common fires. Extinguishers are rated for the type of fire they are made to extinguish. A - Ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, hay, etc. B - Flammable liquids such as gas, oil, grease and other petroleum products C - Electrical fires As this listing shows, an ABC type extinguisher is capable of extinguishing most fires. Multipurpose extinguishers are available in 2.5, 5 and 10 pound sizes. The larger the extinguisher, the longer it takes to completely discharge. Because the discharge time for these sizes ranges from 8 to 25 seconds, a five-pound extinguisher is the minimum size that should be purchased for farm buildings and equipment.
Fire Extinguisher Use on Farms