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    Default Fire Extinguisher Question

    We were at a local event in our area yesterday doing a fire prevention presentation and one of our town citizens posed to us a question that we do not have an answer to. We have contacted a few local extinguisher vendors and they do not have an answer, so I thought I would throw it out to the masses. This woman is elderly and has severe rheumatoid arthritis in her hands. She has very little grip strength in her hands because of this and cannot squeeze the fire extinguisher to dispense the contents. She lives alone and was wondering if there are any special extinguishers or adaptive pieces that would allow her to use a small extinguisher appropriately? Any thought or suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

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    they have those small aerosol extinguishers for very small fires. That might be easier for her to use.

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    All she needs is a few fit-5s placed around her house!!

    I'm sorry I couldn't help my self

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFEMT2159 View Post
    We were at a local event in our area yesterday doing a fire prevention presentation and one of our town citizens posed to us a question that we do not have an answer to. We have contacted a few local extinguisher vendors and they do not have an answer, so I thought I would throw it out to the masses. This woman is elderly and has severe rheumatoid arthritis in her hands. She has very little grip strength in her hands because of this and cannot squeeze the fire extinguisher to dispense the contents. She lives alone and was wondering if there are any special extinguishers or adaptive pieces that would allow her to use a small extinguisher appropriately? Any thought or suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.
    Tell her to get outside and call 911.

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    See if she could get a top down triggered extinguisher (The top lever of the handle is used to depress the switch as opposed to pulling up the lower lever).
    She can then use the side of her arm/elbow to push down and use the extinguisher.

    It ain't perfect but its better than not having one to use.

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    If her capability to squeeze a normal extinguisher is limited as described, then her safest course of action is to get outside of the home, and dial 911.

    If she struggles with a normal extinguisher, she's going to struggle to use one that's "handicapped capable" and is only exposing herself to further risk and the potential of severe injury.
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    There are small cans that are magnetized and placed on the hood above stoves, at a set temperature, they pop open.
    32, 343....neVer forgeT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res343cue View Post
    If her capability to squeeze a normal extinguisher is limited as described, then her safest course of action is to get outside of the home, and dial 911.

    If she struggles with a normal extinguisher, she's going to struggle to use one that's "handicapped capable" and is only exposing herself to further risk and the potential of severe injury.
    Exactly my point. In many cases people should just leave. How many times do we go to fires that have grown during the time the occupants have tried to locate and extinguish before calling 911?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Exactly my point. In many cases people should just leave. How many times do we go to fires that have grown during the time the occupants have tried to locate and extinguish before calling 911?

    I agree completely - if a person cannot operate an extinguisher for WHATEVER reason - they should be getting OUT and calling 911. In addition to the fires that have grown, but how about the people who have been killed because they delayed escape to try to fight the fire.....

    When we teach extinguisher use at my work, we tell people if there is any doubt in their ability to use an extinguisher, get out and stay out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itshotinhere View Post
    All she needs is a few fit-5s placed around her house!!

    I'm sorry I couldn't help my self

    We understand, Bro. Help is on the way, remain calm, sit near a window and watch outside. Avoid playing with Sharp Objects or Fire. The Black Helicopters will come for you shortly............
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    2159 - These folks are (Mostly) Right. At the First sign of a problem, she should be on the Phone for Help. If you can reach her, or any of her family, and pass that information along, you might save a life.......


    BlueMtns - In North America, I've never seen an Extinguisher that was operated with the Bottom lever opening the Valve by pulling up, Every single one is constructed so that the Top Lever depresses and opens the Valve.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Tell her to get outside and call 911.
    This is the appropriate answer.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    This is the appropriate answer.
    This one gets my vote.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Thanks for that Woods.
    We have the flavour of the month variety when it comes to smaller extinguishers - trigger style, top/bottom valve.
    Depends solely on the brand.

    Always good to be learning, Thanks Brother!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Tell her to get outside and call 911.
    Best answer.
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    I would recommend to her that she have working smoke alarms installed in her home. If she has a hearing problem, you may recommend that she install smoke alarms that also have a flashing light when activated.

    Since it sounds like she has limited agility, she needs to use whatever strength she has to evacuate the building, as fast as she is able to. Leave the firefighting to the FD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFEMT2159 View Post
    She has very little grip strength in her hands because of this and cannot squeeze the fire extinguisher to dispense the contents.

    It helps to pull the pin out first.



    I agree with the get out and call 911 though. If she can't discharge an extinguisher, then really how fast is she going to be able to get out? Trying to adapt an extinguisher just to be easier for her probably means she would waste time fumbling with the damn things vs getting out and calling 911.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    It helps to pull the pin out first.

    I just KNEW somebody would come up with that...........
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    Granted that, if the fire is large enough to need a fire extinguisher, and whomever is there can't operate it due to infirmities, the person should just do as previously stated and get out. However, one of my former private care clients was elderly and, altho her hands were crippled with arthritis, she still loved to cook/bake. Just in case of a very small grease flame-up or maybe forgetting to set her timer for something in the oven and having it start burning, Ms. G. kept an large decorative plant pot on the counter near the oven. In it was always about 5 pounds of baking soda and a metal scoop and more than once, I'd come in for the night shift and need to clean up the soda from where it had been used to douse some very small flames.

    This is an option only for someone who still has a good deal of mobility tho, as my client did, and is in no way a replacement for good ol' common sense in knowing when to just get out!

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