how to use a fire extinguisher

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are warriors. A small, powerful red device that can prevent your property from turning into ashes. We can see at least one fire extinguisher in all the buildings, making it one of the most important pieces of equipment in fire safety.

But, it’s astonishing to see that a large number of people do not know how to operate them.

 It is essential to know how to use a fire extinguisher to tackle small fires efficiently. However, note that fire extinguishers should be used only by people who are trained to operate them. Thus, you need proper fire safety training before using the extinguishers.

Here are the steps for proper fire extinguisher use:

  • Identify the type of extinguisher to be used: To know more about it, read the types of Fire Extinguishers and Its Uses.
  • Choose an ideal storing location: You can consider placing your fire extinguisher at a place easily accessible with multiple escape options from there.
  • Proper distance from the fire: Before using the fire extinguisher, make sure you have your back to a clear exit passage. While facing the fire, stay 6-8 feet away from the flames and then operate the extinguisher using the next step.
  • Use the PASS approach: In an emergency, you need to stay calm and use the extinguisher without panicking. You can follow the PASS approach given as: 

P: Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher. It will break its seal. 

A: Aim the nozzle on the hose low, toward the base of the fire. Avoid touching the horn on the extinguisher as it might get cold and damage the skin.

S: Squeeze the handle or lever to discharge the extinguisher(or extinguishing agent).

S: Sweep the nozzle back and forth. Keep the fire extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire. Move it from side to side until the flames are exhausted completely. 

  • Repeat the process: If the flames start up again, repeat the PASS approach till the fire is completely out. 
  • Call the Fire Department: Once the fire is out, or if you are unable to extinguish the fire, call the firefighting team to inspect the place. In the meanwhile, evacuate the area as soon as possible and reach out to a safe place.

When not to use the Fire extinguisher

There are certain conditions when you should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher. There are:

  • When the fire is too large(covers more than 60 square feet area). If the fire involves flammable solvents or is partially behind a wall or ceiling, do not try to tackle it.
  • When the evacuation paths are blocked by flames or smoke.
  • When the smoke makes it unsafe to breathe.
  • When the radiated heat makes the environment too hot or smoky.

Some of the mistakes you should avoid while using the extinguisher

Knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do. To avoid making any mistakes while fighting the fire, here are the things you should not do:

Using the wrong type of fire extinguisher: Always read the label and check which type of fire extinguisher is used to put on which type of fire.

Hiding Fire extinguisher: Inform everyone in the family or the office about where the fire extinguishers are kept. It avoids any confusion during the time of emergency.

Using an old fire extinguisher: Like any other thing, these devices also have expiry dates. Replace it periodically before it’s too late.

While you have learned how to use a fire extinguisher, make sure to service your fire extinguisher periodically to increase its efficiency. Proper and well-maintained fire extinguishers at your premises will make it easier for you to tackle the fire without panicking.

At Guardian Safety, we offer fire extinguisher maintenance. We provide you with extensive servicing of your fire extinguisher by our professionals. Contact us today, and fight the fire hazard bravely.