Nov 17 2015

Extinguishers: How to use and choose

The Right extinguisher for the job

Flammable materials are grouped into classes based on how they burn, Each class has its own type of fire extinguisher.

Letters and/or symbols on extinguishers show the classes of fire they can handle. Using the wrong class of extinguisher can spread the fire or cause injuries.

Most households are best protected by a multi-purpose fire extinguisher (ABC or BC)


Safe Placement

Install extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, workshop, or wherever you have flammables. Install them near exits, away from heat sources. Keep extinguishers easy for adults to see and reach, but out of the reach of children.

Most home extinguishers can be used only once.

Read the manufacturer's instructions to learn about maintenance.


Know How

First, call the fire department. Only use an extinguisher if you are comfortable operating it. Make sure you can control the unit easily; if not, make a safe escape.

To use a fire extinguisher correctly, follow these steps. Remember the word PASS to help you:

Pull the pin. the pin is at the top of the unit near the operating lever or button.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher's nozzle, horn, or hose at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever (or press the button) above the handle to release the agent that puts out the fire.

Sweep from side to side. aim at the base of the fire. Move carefully toward the fire if it seems to be going out.


Fight or Flight? How to decide

A fire extinguisher is not perfect protection. More important are working smoke alarms on every level of your home and a safe escape plan that the whole family knows. A fire extinguisher may be safe to use if:

  • The fire department has been called. get the experts on the way.
  • The fire is small and contained. If the fire is spreading, leave the area.
  • You know what is burning, and you have the right class of fire extinguisher. If you have the wrong class of extinguisher, you could spread the fire or cause an explosion.
  • You know how to use the extinguisher
  • Everyone has left the area or is leaving. Only the person using the extinguisher should stay.
  • You have an easy-to-reach- exit at your back. If smoke fills the room, or fire spreads, GET OUT. Close doors behind you, but don't lock them.