What would you do if a fire broke out in your building? You would probably grab the fire extinguisher, but do you know how to use it correctly? Before using the fire extinguisher you should read the instructions. Although there are many types of fire extinguishers, all of them operate in a similar manner. An easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is the acronym P.A.S.S..
P = PULL
The first thing to do is pull the pin at the top of the fire extinguisher. It will also break the tamper seal which allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
A = AIM
Aim the fire extinguisher nozzle at the edge of the base of the fire, not at the flames. The distance from the fire should be 5 to 20 feet, depending on the type of fire extinguisher being used.
S = SQUEEZE
Slowly squeeze the lever to release the fire extinguishing substance. When you release the lever the discharge will stop.
S = SWEEP
Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth at the base of the fire until the flames are out. Don’t walk away until you have watched the area for several minutes to ensure that the flames do not re-ignite.
If the fire gets out of control determine the safest path to evacuate the area. The fire extinguisher has a very limited extinguishing time of 10 to 25 seconds for 10 to 20 pounds of discharging chemical agent. Be careful not to use it all if you might need to evacuate the area. Use the extinguisher in short bursts to create a pathway to safety. If the fire is not out when the extinguisher is empty, evacuate immediately!!
Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!