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Fire Extinguisher Tips

When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by extinguishing a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. Portable extinguishers, however, are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under certain conditions.
  1. The extinguisher must be rated for the type of fire you intend on using it on.
  2. The extinguisher must be large enough to extinguish the fire. Most portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as eight seconds.
  3. The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
  4. The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. Read the instructions when you buy it. There is no time to read directions during an emergency.
  5. The operator must be strong enough to lift and operate the extinguisher.

Should you fight the fire?

Before you begin to fight a small fire:
  1. Make sure everyone has left, or is leaving the building.
  2. Make sure the fire department has been notified.
  3. Be certain that the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and that it is not spreading beyond the immediate area.
  4. Be sure that your back is to a safe and unobstructed exit to which the fire will not spread.
  5. Be sure that your extinguisher is the proper size and type for the fire at hand and that you know how to use it.
  6. It is reckless to fight a fire with an extinguisher in any circumstances. Instead, leave immediately, close off the area, and leave the fire for the fire department.

If you do fight the fire, remember the word P.A.S.S:

PULL the pin. Some extinguishers require releasing a lock latch, pressing a puncture lever, or taking another first step.
AIM low. Point the extinguisher nozzle (or it's horn or hose) at the base of the fire.
SQUEEZE the handle. This releases the extinguishing agent.
SWEEP from side to side. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until it appears to be out. Watch the fire area. If fire breaks out again, repeat the process.

Your Extinguisher must fit the fire

Type A - Ordinary combustibles, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
Type B - Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil seed paint, lacquer, and flammable gas.
Type C - Energized electrical equipment, including; wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
Type D - Burning Metals, such as Aluminum, and magnesium, which will explode if water is applied to it when burning.