The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 19, 2013

Fire department offering proper extinguisher training using new device

By Tim Krohn
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — A new device will allow businesses and schools to get training on the proper use of fire extringuishers.

“Businesses will see a lot of cost savings,” said Lt. Scott LeBrun of the Mankato Fire Department. In the past businesses or schools had to rent a number of fire extinguishers, often at a cost of hundreds of dollars, to practice using them.

The $6,000 unit has a large stainless steel tray with burners connected to a LP gas tank. A fire extinguisher — unlike traditional ones filled with a powder retardant — can be refilled with a small amount of water and compressed air to spray a mist. The burner tray has a number of sensors that tells people if they are aiming the extinguisher in the proper place to best cool a fire.

A fire official controls the burner with a remote box. “You can make if flare up a little to give that sense of surprise that happens with fires,” LeBrun said. If the fire official releases their thumb from the button on the remote, the flames instantly shut down.

The city was able to purchase the unit because of $3,250 in donations from MTU Onsite Energy Corp. in Mankato; $264 from Jones Metal Products; and $200 from Primrose Retirement Communities. The rest of the money came from the department’s public education fund.

LeBrun said they also will try to hold training events at places such as Minnesota State University or elsewhere so residents who are interested can practice the use of extinguishers in their homes.

For more information or to schedule a fire extinguisher training, contact staff at 507-387-8577.