Fire extinguishers: a crucial part of school safety

Fire extinguishers: a crucial part of school safety

Last week was fire awareness and prevention week at PCM’s elementary schools. One fire fighting device seen in most buildings is a fire extinguisher. In an emergency, a fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense in preventing damages and injuries caused by flames. Most schools have several of these devices located in hallways for quick use in an emergency. Fire extinguishers work by separating the burning material and the oxygen that a fire requires. The most popular fire extinguishers use water, carbon dioxide or a chemical similar to baking soda to stop the flames. Water works by cooling the fuel to below the ignition point, whereas carbon dioxide and baking soda work by displacing oxygen around the fire. The PCM high school has ten fire extinguishers in the hallways with more in classrooms and storage spaces. All of the hallway extinguishers are up to date for 2020. Despite being a useful safety feature, some students do not know how many or where these extinguishers are.

“Probably like two. I’ve never seen them very much. If there are more, then they should make them more noticeable,” said junior Kyle Sanders.

Fire extinguishers are an invaluable resource for students and staff. Accidental fires can occur because of an electrical fault or by chance. Many of these fires can be stopped before they become harmful enough to cause large scale damage with fire extinguishing devices like fire extinguishers. 

“I used the fire extinguisher in high school when my car started on fire,” said high school teacher Matt Henning.

Schools are required to have a fire alarm system in place in case of fires; sprinkler systems are also used to stop fires. Fire safety and fire fighting equipment like fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and fire alarms can save lives and prevent damage to property. Still, when a fire is found, reach for a fire extinguisher.