Pass the Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is a very effective tool for putting out a fire that is just getting started. Knowing how to properly use an extinguisher reduces the risk of a larger fire developing and destroying your workplace or home. And if you’re caught on the fire side of an escape route, an extinguisher can provide a path to safety.

While fire extinguishers are useful tools, don’t hesitate to call 911 for help.

Types of fire extinguishers

There are several classes of fire extinguishers. The U.S. Fire Administration provides the following breakdown:

  • Class A: Used on everyday materials like cloth, wood and paper
  • Class B: Used on combustible and flammable liquids, including grease, gasoline, oil and paint
  • Class C: Used on electrical equipment, such as appliances and power tools
  • Class D: Used on flammable metals
  • Class K: Used on vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances

Types of fire extinguishers

Most home fire extinguishers are intended for grease fires that might occur in a kitchen pan or stove. These extinguishers are not designed for large-scale fires, but rather to catch fires in their incipient stage. Home fire extinguishers are relatively inexpensive and small.

When purchasing a home fire extinguisher, the U.S. Fire Administration suggests looking for one labeled multipurpose, such as an “A-B-C” extinguisher.

Types of fire extinguishers

Commercial fire extinguishers come in various sizes, but they are still small enough to be used on a small or incipient-stage fire.

The type of extinguisher available to you at work will depend on the setting. For example, commercial kitchens usually have Class K extinguishers.

Types of fire extinguishers

Securely mount the extinguisher in a location that is easy to reach, but where you won’t be tempted to use it as a coat rack. Mounting the extinguisher not only ensures that it’s readily available in the event of a fire, but it also prevents delicate parts from being tampered with or broken.

Do not mount your fire extinguisher behind a stove or other appliance, as this would require you to reach over the fire to access it.

Types of fire extinguishers

With a 2-pound unit, you have about 30 seconds of spray time. It’s imperative that you know how to correctly use an extinguisher — or risk running out of extinguishing agent amid a growing fire.

Remember the acronym PASS:

P — Pull the pin.

A — Aim the nozzle at the base of the flame.

S — Squeeze the trigger/handle.

S — Sweep the extinguisher slowly from side to side.

Even if you believe you have successfully extinguished the fire, call 911 anyway. The fire department will confirm that the fire is truly out and check electrical wiring for damage.

Learn how to PASS a fire extinguisher. It may help you prevent a potentially deadly fire.

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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