How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher

If you believe that there’s any chance you’re going to need to use a fire extinguisher in your lifetime, then you should be properly trained on how to do so. Not only should you understand how to use it and have a knowledge of basic fire fighting techniques, but you need to make sure the right type of fire extinguisher is used on top of it. We’re going to give you a rundown on how to properly use a fire extinguisher, if you find yourself in a workplace or at-home situation where the simple use of a fire extinguisher could make all the difference.

While we all may not have fire extinguishers in our residential home, it is a legal requirement to have at least one in the workplace (depending on the size of the building, how many floors, etc.). Making sure that your employees know how to operate one in the event of an emergency can not only save lives, but it can save your equipment, important files and further valuables from burning into dust. This is why it’s important to teach your employees how to use a fire extinguisher, rather than fumbling around with instructions they’ve never seen before when under pressure.

EHS Insight expands on why this is so important “How to Use a Fire Extinguisher – Safety Steps”:

Did you know that there are classifications of fires and that your fire extinguisher may not be equipped to handle all of them? Well, you do now! If you take a look at your fire extinguisher’s label, it will indicate which classes of fire it is designed to put out. As you can imagine, the majority of household fire extinguishers are multi-purpose, but are only equipped to combat A, B, and C classes.

Rebecca Edwards of Safewise talks us through the classifications:

“The first thing you need to know is the different classifications of fires, and the second that not all fire, you need to understand what types of fires you may have to deal with and make sure your extinguisher can get the job done.

Most household fires fall into one of the following categories:

Class A: These fires are fueled by solid combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth.

Class B: These fires are fueled by flammable liquids such as oil, petroleum, and gasoline.

Class C: These fires are started or fueled by faulty wiring, fuse boxes, and appliances.

Class K: These fires are started or fueled by cooking oils and greases, animal fats, and vegetable fats.”

While it’s unlikely that you’re going to physically practice on a fire extinguisher, it’s important to study the instructions and make sure you understand them, so you can feel confident if the occasion should ever arise where you need to operate one.

The National Safety Council takes us through how to operate a fire extinguisher using the PASS method:

“Pull the pin on the extinguisher.

Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.

Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.”

Now that you have a better understanding of how to use a fire extinguisher, you need to make sure yours is properly maintained so it’s ready to go in the event of an emergency. Check out how we can help with fire extinguisher inspections, recharges, and many other mobile services to keep you and your business safe.