What Not to Do When Using a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are your trusty allies when it comes to tackling small fires and preventing potential disasters. However, using them incorrectly can do more harm than good. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to know what not to do when using a fire extinguisher.


In this post, we’ll explore some common mistakes to avoid when using this important piece of fire safety equipment to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of your firefighting efforts.


1) Don’t Skip the Basics: Read the Instructions


Imagine a fire breaks out, and you grab the nearest fire extinguisher, only to realize you have no idea how to use it. Before an emergency strikes, you should always take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the instructions on any of the extinguishers in the area.


Different types of fire extinguishers require different handling, so knowing the basics can make a world of difference when time is of the essence.


2) Don’t Aim at the Wrong Spot: Aim for the Base


It might seem intuitive to aim the fire extinguisher at the flames, but that’s not the most effective approach. Instead, you should always aim for the base of the fire where the fuel source is located. This is where you can cut off the fire’s supply and effectively put it out. 


Believe it or not, directing the extinguishing agent at the flames themselves can be less effective and might not quell the fire entirely.


3) Don’t Forget to Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep (PASS)


Remembering “PASS” is your mantra when using a fire extinguisher:


  • Pull: Pull the pin to break the tamper seal.
  • Aim: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  • Sweep: Sweep from side to side while aiming at the base of the fire until it’s out.


Following these steps ensures that you’re using the fire extinguisher correctly and effectively.


4) Don’t Let the Fire Grow: Choose the Right Time to Fight


When a fire breaks out, your safety is paramount. So, if the fire is spreading rapidly, if it’s taller than you, or if you’re not confident in using the extinguisher, don’t hesitate to evacuate and call the professionals. 


Ultimately, using a fire extinguisher is only advisable for small fires that you can handle safely. Your safety should always come first.


5) Don’t Forget to Check Expiry Dates: Keep It Current


Fire extinguishers have expiry dates just like any other product. Therefore, you’ll need to regularly check the pressure gauge to ensure that the extinguisher is still charged and functional. 


If the pressure is in the green zone and the extinguisher is within its expiry date, you’re good to go. If not, it’s time to replace or recharge it to guarantee its effectiveness when needed.


The Bottom Line


While it can be a lifesaver, it’s important to know what not to do when using a fire extinguisher for the safety of yourself and those around you. So, remember to read the instructions, aim for the base of the fire, follow the PASS method, assess the situation, and keep your extinguisher up to date. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be better prepared to tackle small fires and keep yourself and your surroundings safe.


In case a fire breaks out, you should always prioritize safety and consider receiving training on how to use a fire extinguisher properly. With the right knowledge and a cool head, you can confidently handle emergencies and prevent potential disasters from escalating.


Want to make sure your fire extinguishers are in good working condition? We’d be happy to help! Click here to get in touch with Fire-Alert, and take advantage of our mobile services today.