When and How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

July 22, 2021 3:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Every home should have fire extinguishers available to use should a fire emergency situation arise. In addition, everyone in the home (of a reasonable age) should learn when and how to use the fire extinguisher so they can be prepared if a fire occurs in the home.

The “when” here should be relatively easy to figure out—if there’s a fire, you probably need to use an extinguisher to prevent it from spreading and worsening. But there are some other issues to consider:

  • Have you already alerted others to the presence of a fire?
  • Has someone already called the fire department?
  • Are you safe from the smoke of the fire?
  • Is the fire contained within a single object, such as a bin or pan?
  • Are you able to escape the room if necessary?
  • Are you physically capable of using the fire extinguisher?

If the answer to all of the above questions is “yes,” then you should go ahead with using the fire extinguisher. If you are unsure about the safety of using the fire extinguisher, get out of the building after alerting others and call 911 as soon as possible.

How to use the fire extinguisher

In addition to knowing when to use this fire extinguisher, it’s also important to understand how to use a fire extinguisher.

The recommended method of fire extinguisher usage follows what’s known as the “PASS” method, with PASS serving as an acronym that stands for:

  • Pull: Pull out the pin, and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you. Release the locking mechanism before proceeding.
  • Aim: Aim the fire extinguisher low, toward the base of the fire. If you shoot the fire extinguisher at the tops of the flames it will have no effect—you need to attack the fire at its source.
  • Squeeze: Squeeze the lever slowly and with even pressure while the fire extinguisher discharges its contents.
  • Sweep: Use a sweeping motion to move the nozzle from side to side while you aim and squeeze. This ensures you cover more area and create a more effective extinguishing process.

It’s also important that you prioritize fire extinguisher maintenance so the equipment will actually work when you need it to. The fire extinguisher should be located in an easily accessible area, and in a house, you should ideally have one on every floor in either a central location or in an area where there is greater risk of fire. Make sure the can and parts appear to be in good working condition, and regularly remove any dust or oil buildup on the exterior. Check the pressure gauge regularly to make sure the arrow is still pointing to the green zone, indicating there is sufficient pressure inside the fire extinguisher.

You can also check the tag on the fire extinguisher to see when maintenance was last performed on the device.

For more information about how to use a fire extinguisher safely in your home, we encourage you to contact the experts at Anchor Safety Inc.

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