This Is How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Correctly

There are more than 350,000 home fires in the United States each year.

Some of the most common causes include unattended cooking, space heaters, smoking, and electrical equipment.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent it. For one thing, you want to test your smoke alarms regularly. That way, you’ll be able to catch the problem before it turns into an emergency.

Not only that, but you should familiarize yourself with what to do if a fire starts while you’re home. For instance, you should know how to use a fire extinguisher.

Never used one before? Need some tips? Then make sure to read the rest of the post!

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher

There are four classes of fire extinguishers, each of which puts out a different type of fire. If an extinguisher is multipurpose, it will be labeled with more than one class (e.g. A-B-C, A-B).

Class A: These extinguishers will put out fires fuelled by solid combustibles such as paper, wood, and cloth.

Class B: These extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease, and oil.

Class C: These extinguishers should only be used for electrical fires.

Class D: These extinguishers are designed for use on combustible metals such as titanium and magnesium.

Size is important as well. Generally speaking, you want to get something that you can easily lift.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

It’s important that you know how to operate a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency. Here are the steps.

Step 1: Identify an Escape Route

Make sure that you have a clear escape route before using the fire extinguisher—that way, if anything happens, you can make a safe exit.

In fact, it should be something that you should be considering when you’re deciding where to store the fire extinguisher.

Step 2: Stand Back

Face the fire with your back toward the identified exit. Stay at least six feet away from the flames. The last thing that you want is to get too close!

Step 3: Use the Fire Extinguisher

Most fire extinguishers operate using the PASS technique. Basically, it’s an acronym that helps you recall all the steps.

P: Pull the pin that’s on top of the fire extinguisher.

A: Aim the fire extinguisher low, with the nozzle toward the base of the fire.

S: Squeeze the handle/lever to release the extinguishing agent.

S: Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, keeping the nozzle aimed at the base of the fire. Continue until the flames are extinguished.

Note: Repeat the last three steps if the fire reignites.

Using a Fire Extinguisher Properly

And there we have it—a short guide on how to use a fire extinguisher. If anything, it’s quite simple as long as you remember the PASS acronym!

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