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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Accidents happen. Be prepared to fight your own fire by learning how to use a fire extinguisher.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Know how fire extinguishers are classified Know how fire extinguishers are classified. Class A extinguishers are for common combustibles like paper or wood; Class B are for flammable liquids; and Class C are for electrical fires.
  • TIP: The Red Cross recommends ABC classified fire extinguishers for home use.
  • Step 2: Inspect the fire extinguisher Inspect the fire extinguisher before use. Read instructions and warnings; check that the pressure gauge needle is in the green portion of the gauge; and check for a clogged nozzle, a broken seal, or other damage.
  • TIP: A fire extinguisher won’t work if it’s not properly charged. The pressure gauge measures the charge.
  • Step 3: Decide if you'll evacuate or stay and fight Decide if you’ll evacuate or stay and fight the fire. Consider the size of the fire, the amount of smoke in the room, and whether there is a reliable escape route.
  • Step 4: Remember the acronym PASS Remember the acronym PASS. It stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
  • Step 5: Pull the pin that unlocks the operating handle Pull the pin or ring that unlocks the fire extinguisher’s operating handle, and aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • TIP: Aim at the fire from 6 to 8 feet away.
  • Step 6: Squeeze extinguisher lever to discharge contents Squeeze the extinguisher lever to discharge its contents, and sweep the hose back and forth until the extinguisher is empty.
  • FACT: Food Network star Alton Brown used a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher, a water cooler bottle, and a tennis racket to make a fruit smoothie on television.

You Will Need

  • Courage
  • Calm
  • Fire extinguisher

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