Men’s Breakfast Discovers How Proper Use of Fire Extinguishers Could Save Your Life

Submitted by Brian McHattie

The September 2019 Men’s Breakfast had a good turnout, supported by some of our Michigan friends. The food just keeps getting better, this month featuring blueberry pancakes and cheesy scrambled eggs!

Our feature speaker was Laura McFarlane, Captain and lead training instructor in the 50+ member Northern Bruce Peninsula volunteer fire department. Laura visited to discuss when and when not to use fire extinguishers. 

Laura reminded us that a house fire takes as little as three and half minutes to reach critical heat and achieve flashover. 

• Lesson 1: when that happens stop fighting the fire, drop the extinguisher and get out! Then call 911!

• Lesson 2: mount your fire extinguisher on the wall in parts of your house where fires could conceivably start: kitchen, garage, shop, and your bedrooms. There four different classes of fire so choose an extinguisher that covers all of A (i.e., wood, paper), B (oil, solvents) and C (electrical) fires. 

• Lesson 3: If you encounter the fire upon hearing the smoke alarm activate (30 – 60 seconds), fight it in a sweeping motion at the base of the fire, approximately six feet away, never turning your back on the fire. To be successful, you are smothering oxygen, covering the fuel source, cooling the heat, and breaking the chemical reaction between the three fire factors. Even if you put the fire out, call the fire department to visit and make sure the fire is out (i.e., electrical fires can continue behind the drywall). 

• Lesson 4: question for you – how old is your fire extinguisher? If you’re lucky and haven’t used it (likely most of us) it may be over 10 years old and it must be replaced, as the dry chemical powder settles and cakes, and the pressure gauge despite being in the green may not be accurate. Make sure you are comfortable with the extinguisher and know how to remove the pin quickly and handle the hose and nozzle. Remember, seconds count!

Laura has offered to bring her fire crew to visit you to advise on fire-proofing your house – thanks Laura!!

Note that our next meeting is Saturday October 19. Breakfast is served at 9am, with coffee ready by 8am. The guest speaker is Kaitlyn Davis, Regional Sales Director for Desjardins Investment Solutions who will talk about investing for social, environmental and economic benefit. 

Breakfast is $10 by tickets purchased at the door. For more information, please contact Dave Robertson: 519-596-8373 or