How Do I Use a Fire Extinguisher?

January 14, 2021 2:33 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Do you have employees or household members asking, “How do I use a fire extinguisher?” Knowing the answer to this question can save you heartache and property damage in Longview, TX, so today is a good day to teach this valuable lesson. This overview explains how to use a fire extinguisher and precautions to take when using and maintaining fire extinguishers.

Using a fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers work by removing the three things fires need to thrive: oxygen, heat and fuel. They contain fire suppressants that smother these elements, and once the fire no longer has oxygen, heat or fuel, it is no longer a threat.

But the suppressant will not work unless you use the extinguisher correctly. Fumbling around with the extinguisher while the fire grows defeats the purpose.

The best way to remember how to use an extinguisher is with the acronym PASS:

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim the nozzle at the fire’s base
  • Squeeze the trigger slowly
  • Sweep suppressant back and forth to put out the flames

When you activate the fire extinguisher, make sure your back is toward an exit. You do not want to get caught in a room with a raging fire. Once the flames are taller than you, there is nothing else you can do. Leave the area immediately and get to a safe location.


Fire extinguishers are not one-size-fits-all. As indicated above, they only work with small fires. Once small fires start to take over a room, only a fire suppression system or the fire department will be able to smother the fire. So, make sure your employees know that fire extinguishers only work in the early stages of a fire. No one should ever consider fire extinguishers the only defense.

Second, fire extinguishers are not a buy-and-forget-it item. They need maintenance. Purchase extinguishers from a reputable fire and security system company and sign up for an inspection plan. Technicians check fire extinguishers for safety issues and flaws, and they recharge and test them. Do not skimp on these inspections—fire extinguishers cannot help you if they do not work.

Finally, if a fire extinguisher expires, replace it. While the suppressant may remain effective, the seals on the neck of the extinguisher deteriorate over time. If it is compromised, the extinguisher cannot generate the needed pressure to release the suppressant and stop a fire. You cannot rely on an expired extinguisher, so let your fire protection system company know when you need a new one.

If you can maintain fire extinguishers and make sure everyone at your home or business knows how to use them, you will reduce the chances of a fire disaster and insurance claim. Staying on top of fire suppression is also an excellent way to keep your insurance premiums lower, so make this a priority.

If you need more answers to the question, “How do I use a fire extinguisher?” we can help. Anchor Safety Inc. is a leader in fire safety in Longview, TX. Our industry experts can recommend fire suppression systems, inspect fire extinguishers and install emergency and exit signs. Call us today to schedule a free fire safety consultation for your business.

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