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3 Interesting Uses for Fire Extinguishers

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Fire extinguishers should be a mainstay in every home, vehicle or cabin in the woods for obvious reasons.  However, fire extinguishers can also serve other purposes that may end up saving your live.  Here are a few examples of ways that you can use them to your advantage during an emergency.

Survival Smoke Screen
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are under attack in class, at work or in a public building, a fire extinguisher may save your life.  Most fire extinguishers contain oxygen-depleting compounds that are ejected at high pressure once the trigger is pulled.  Some fire extinguishers use little more than baking soda and carbon dioxide.  Others use chemicals that coat the surface when sprayed, and this causes the fire to become depleted of oxygen.

Both generally produce a cloud of white fog that reduces visibility to just a few inches.  This will provide you with a chance to escape if an attacker is in the immediate vicinity.  The fire extinguishers that use coating chemicals can also irritate the skin, eyes and reduce the ability of the attacker to breathe in oxygen.  This one-two punch may be all that you need to stop them in their tracks and find a way out of the situation.

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Defensive Weapon
Spraying the powder directly into the face of an attacker is only one way that you can use a fire extinguisher to get out of the danger zone.  You can also use it as a blunt object to bludgeon the attacker in close-range combat as well.  How you do this will depend on the situation as well as the size of the canister, but it can be quite effective if used at the right time and under the right circumstances.

You can take the canister in both hands and raise it above your head, smashing it down on top of the assailant. You can push it forward with all of your might into their chest or face.  You can also swing it like a baseball bat to knock someone off of their feet.  If you are using a smaller canister, you can hold it by the base so that the end with the valve and trigger is what strikes the attacker as well, and this can maximize injury and minimize the time and force that is required to gain the upper hand.

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Drinking Bottle
You can re-purpose many fire extinguishers into drinking bottles or water dispensers.  However, it’s important to know what type of chemicals were being used in order to properly clean and sterilize the canisters prior to storing water.  It’s also important to know whether or not the canister has been made from lead or other harmful metals.  Purchasing a domestic, Canadian or European product will more likely be safe than items from Asia or South America.  However, in an emergency, and for limited use, the small amount of exposure to lead would probably be negligible.  You can also use large fire extinguishers to store grey-water or water for non-potable purposes.

The fastest and easiest way to dismantle a fire extinguisher canister is to eject the contents into a bucket of water.  This will keep the powder from being disbursed all over the place while also minimizing the chance of causing unintentional damage or injury.  Once the canister has been depressurized, all you need to do is remove the valve and trigger assembly, thoroughly clean and sanitize the inside and fill with water.  You will also probably need to fashion some type of cap if the nipple of the canister is not standard sized.  Small plastic extinguishers are ideal for uses when portability is important whereas larger ones are excellent for fixed locations and for water storage.

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of spraying fire extinguishers for self defense purposes will depend on its size, amount of chemicals inside and the degree of pressurization.  Make sure that fire extinguishers are routinely serviced and functioning properly before relying on it in a life or death situation.  Take note of where nearby fire extinguishers are located, and make sure that they are in easy reach at a moment’s notice.

This is another example of how it doesn’t take a lot of resources, money or ingenuity to turn ordinary objects into life-saving devices.  Use them to your advantage, and see how they may be just what you need to get out of a dangerous situation alive while also protecting the lives of others.

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