Home Fire Extinguishers
Fire Protective Services
Tel: (306) 786-1795
Fax (306) 786-6588
When to use them - How to use them
Extinguishers Have Limits
A home portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out
a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. They aren't,
however, designed to fight large or even spreading fires and they aren't for
everyone. Even against small fires, you should use them only if:
You are an adult.
- You know how to operate the extinguisher.
- The extinguisher is in easy reach and in working order.
- You have a clear escape route that won't be blocked by fire.
- The extinguisher matches the type of fire you're fighting.
- The extinguisher is large enough to put out the fire.
Read the Label
There are three basic classes for fires. All
Fire extinguishers are labeled with standard symbols, letters, or both for the
classes of fires they can put out.
Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and
Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and
Class C: Energized electrical equipment - including
wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
Class K: These stored pressure extinguishers are suitable for use on combustible cooking media and offer the very best in portable fire protection.
Multipurpose fire extinguishers, labeled ABC, may be used on all
classes of fire.
Extinguishers labeled for only Class A fires contain water and
are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.
A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the
extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells
you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for that class of fire.
If you use the wrong type of extinguisher, you can endanger
yourself and even make the fire worse.
EXTINGUISHER SIZE: Portable extinguishers are rated for
the size of fire they can handle. This rating is also on the label - for
example, 2A:10B:C. The larger the numbers, the larger the fire that the
extinguisher can put out, but higher-rated models are often heavier. Make
sure you can hold and operate an extinguisher before you buy it. (Note:
Many portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as 8-10 seconds,
which may not be enough to put out the fire.)
Installation and Maintenance
Install extinguishers in plain view, above the reach of
children, near an escape route, and away from stoves and heating appliances.
Take care of your extinguishers. Read your operator's manual,
learn how to inspect your extinguisher, and follow the manufacturer's
instructions for maintenance.
Rechargeable extinguishers must be serviced after every use. Service companies are listed in the Yellow Pages under "Fire Extinguishers". Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once and must be replaced after use.
Fighting Small Fires: PASS
Only fight a fire if you feel confident to continue. Keep your
back to an unobstructed exit and begin by standing 6-8 feet (2-3 meters) away
from the fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure - Pull, Airm, Squeeze, and
PULL the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows
you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other
AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the
base of the fire.
SQUEEZE the lever above the handle: This discharges the
extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.
(Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)
SWEEP from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire,
keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth
until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire
reignites, repeat the process.
Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site, even
if you think you've extinguished the fire.
Should you Fight the Fire?
Before you fight a fire, make sure:
- Everyone has left, or is leaving, the building, and that the
fire department is being called.
- The fire is confined to a small area and is not spreading.
- You have an unobstructed escape route to which the fire will
- The extinguisher is the right type for the fire.
- You know how to use your extinguisher.
It's reckless to fight a fire in any other circumstances.
Instead, leave immediately and close off the area.
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