Using a fire extinguisher can be intimidating if you’ve never used one before. Most of us have extinguishers in our homes and at our workplaces but may not have taken time to stop and think about how to actually use one. Did you know a small flame can quickly turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds? Or that in just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening? Even if using a extinguisher seems fairly straight forward, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to read over instructions during a fire emergency.
October is Fire Prevention Month, with this week (October 6-12) being Fire Prevention Week – giving us the perfect opportunity to walk you through a few easy-to-remember steps when using a fire extinguisher.
PASS the Fire Extinguisher
Go over the following steps with your family before the fire extinguisher is needed. Just remember the anagram PASS.
Pull the pin. This small pin locks the fire extinguisher in order to prevent it from accidentally being used. Once it’s pulled out, the fire extinguisher is ready to be used.
Aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. Avoid aiming at the flames as this can cause them to shift around and spread the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the fire extinguisher from side to side to cover all areas of the fire.
Check out this video for a quick PASS tutorial on how to use a fire extinguisher:
Your safety is of the upmost importance. Begin by assessing the fire. If the fire is too big or uncontrollable, evacuate the area immediately and call 911. Do not risk your safety by trying to put out a large fire. However, if the fire is small and can realistically be contained, use the extinguisher with the PASS steps to put it out.
Always hold the extinguisher with the nozzle facing away from you. Position yourself with your back toward an unobstructed exit, so you can easily exit the location if the scene becomes more dangerous.
We recommend taking advantage of hands-on training with an extinguisher if your community offers it.
Click here for more tips and resources related to disaster preparedness.