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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

November 13, 2013

Many of our posts on disaster and fire safety refer to maintaining and using a fire extinguisher. So today, we’d like to go over the basics of how to use a one. Before we begin, check out this blog by Spokane FPD #9 about how to select the correct type of extinguisher for your commercial occupancy.

A fire extinguisher stands the best chance of working if it’s properly maintained before it’s needed. A few quick things to check:

Fire Extinguisher Class

–          Be sure that the extinguisher is the proper classification for your occupancy. This information is generally located on the side of the extinguisher, near the UL Listing.

–          Check the gauge near the trigger to be sure that the extinguisher is adequately charged.

fire extinguisher maintenance

–          Ensure that the extinguisher is serviced at least yearly.

–          If an extinguisher has been used, have it recharged as soon as possible.

The basics of using a fire extinguisher are easy to remember: P.A.S.S.

Pull: All fire extinguishers have a pin at the top, next to the nozzle. Pull this pin, which is used as a tamper seal, so the extinguisher will work when the trigger is squeezed.

using a fire extinguisher

Aim: Aim the extinguisher nozzle (this generally looks like a hose) at or near the base of the fire, as low as possible. Don’t hold the nozzle by the plastic horn shape at the end; this can get extremely cold and could damage your skin.

 Squeeze: Squeeze the handle, or trigger, to start the flow of the extinguishing chemical.

how to use a fire extinguisher

Sweep: While aiming low at or near the base of the fire, sweep the nozzle from one side of the fire to the other. Once the fire appears to be extinguished you can stop spraying. While fires can appear to be extinguished, the area can still be extremely hot and will sometimes reignite. If this happens, repeat aiming, squeezing, and sweeping.

As always, if a fire feels unsafe or is too large, evacuate and call 911.

Article by: Kristen Skinner


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