After smoke detectors, fire extinguishers are your family's next line of defense. Like
smoke detectors, only working extinguishers will help you. Buy extinguishers that are
approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Beware there are several different
types of extinguisher to choose from. Each type of extinguisher is for a different type
of fire. For most home applications you will use a combination extinguisher. It is a
multipurpose dry chemical type extinguisher rated: ABC.
If a fire breaks out and you're not sure which type of extinguisher to use, don't panic!
Get everyone out and call the fire department. If you try to fight the fire with the wrong
type of extinguisher, you could make it worse.
Where you place your fire extinguishers can make or break your fire evacuation
plan and could save your life. The extinguisher must be within easy reach, close
to an exit and away from potential fire hazards. You should have more than one
extinguisher in your home, with the proper type extinguisher in each area.
Know what to do
Before you decide to fight a fire, follow these steps:
If the fire has spread beyond its immediate area, do not attempt to fight it.
By this time, the fire is too large. Close off the area and leave the fire to the
PASS over flames
If the fire is small and you have decided to stay and fight the fire, remember the word "PASS".
Pull the pin. Some extinguishers require releasing a lock, latch or pressing a puncture lever.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher nozzle (or its 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. If you are fighting a floor fire, sweep
from the edge in. If you are fighting a wall fire, sweep from the bottom up.
*** Remember to stay low, away from smoke & heat.
Maintenance and inspection of your fire extinguishers will assure that the
extinguisher will perform when a fire occurs. A quick check should be done
each month to check for damage or tampering. When you change your
smoke detector batteries, you should do a thorough extinguisher examination.
Ask yourself these questions:
Is the extinguisher easily accessible and in it proper location?
Are the operating instructions visible and facing outward?
Is the extinguisher fully charged?
Is there any corrosion, broken seals or damage?
Are all the connections between the hose and shell secure?
Is the nozzle (or horn) and hose free from obstructions?
If the fire extinguisher is reusable, be sure to have it recharged after use.
If the extinguisher is a disposable model, it can only be used once, and
must be replaced. Be sure you know what type of extinguisher you have
so you can count on it to work when you need it.
Important safety note
If you are not sure how to use a fire extinguisher, don't try. The time you waste
could mean the difference between minor damage and a major disaster. It's
time you can't afford to waste once a fire has started - so sound the alarm and