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Fire Extinguisher Misuse: Why Fire Extinguisher Pranks Are No Laughing Matter

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In the right hands, a fire extinguisher can save lives and prevent property damage. This is why every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. However, fire extinguishers should only be used to put out small fires. Moreover, all young adult and adult occupants of a home, place of work or school should be aware of how to use fire extinguishers safely and correctly.

Knowledge of Fire Extinguisher Usage Is Essential

Alarmingly, just one in two people are unaware of the correct way to operate a fire extinguisher. This is an important statistic because using the wrong extinguisher on a fire can be fatal. In Australia, universal extinguishers such as those labeled ABE, are safer since they can put out multiple types of fire.

But what happens when a person uses a fire extinguisher to prank someone? Well, no matter what type of fire extinguisher they use, they are putting lives at risk. Even if a prankster doesn't harm their intended victim, their actions could well cost lives in the near future.

They Can Be Fatal to Asthma Sufferers

Universal fire extinguishers like ABE and BE discharge a fine powder that is efficient at smothering fires and their fuel sources. However, if used to spray directly at someone, the powder of these extinguishers can cause breathing difficulties as well as throat and nasal irritation.

If the intended victim of the prank happens to be an asthma sufferer, the powder could cause them to have a severe and possibly fatal asthma attack.  

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers Can Cause Heart Attacks

Another risk that comes with pranking people with powder fire extinguishers is hypoxia. Hypoxia simply means that the body is unable to take in enough oxygen. When this happens, the body of that person fills up with lactic acid, possibly causing a heart attack.

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers Can Cause Suffocation

This type of fire extinguisher works by depriving a fire of its oxygen supply. Spray it at someone then, and you could end up suffocating them.

Pranks Can Leave Fire Extinguishers Empty

One of the Fire Safety Maintenance requirements in Australia is that fire extinguishers should be checked and tested monthly. If a prankster decides to empty an extinguisher, it might take a month for someone to notice. If a fire breaks out in that time, that fire extinguisher will be all but useless. This could cost lives as well as livelihoods.

Use fire extinguishers as they were meant to be used. Moreover, ensure that everybody in your home and place of work has at least a basic working knowledge of fire extinguishers and the risks that come with them. Fire extinguishers were created to save lives, not put them at risk.