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I’m sure you have seen many fire extinguishers in your lifetime, and you probably have owned a few as well for emergency purposes, but have you ever learned how they actually work? If you had to use a fire extinguisher, would you know what to do? When a fire happens, you will need to think and act quickly, there will not be time to read a manual to figure it out. Learning fire safety is important in maintaining a safe environment, whether at home or work. However, simply having a fire extinguisher on hand is not enough; you need to know how to use it effectively. Here is a guide explaining the steps of how to properly use a fire extinguisher in order to keep yourself and those around you safe. 

Understanding the Fire Triangle

Before delving into the specifics of using a fire extinguisher, it’s important to understand the basic principles of fire. The fire triangle consists of three elements: fuel, heat, and oxygen. Removing any one of these elements can extinguish a fire. Fire extinguishers work by disrupting the combustion process, eliminating one or more components of the fire triangle.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are different types of fire extinguishers with each designed to combat a specific type of fire. The most common types include:

  • Class A: Suitable for ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth.
  • Class B: Effective against flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and grease.
  • Class C: Designed for electrical fires involving live electrical equipment.
  • Class D: Specifically for fires involving combustible metals.
  • Class K: Ideal for kitchen fires, particularly those involving cooking oils and fats.

It’s crucial to use the right type of fire extinguisher for the specific fire you are dealing with. The label on the extinguisher will indicate the classes of fires it can effectively combat.

Remembering the PASS Technique

To ensure effective use of a fire extinguisher, remember the PASS technique:

  • Pull: Start by pulling the pin at the top of the extinguisher. This will break the tamper seal and allow you to discharge the extinguisher.
  • Aim: Point the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Do not aim at the flames; instead, direct the extinguishing agent at the source of the fire.
  • Squeeze: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent. Keep a firm grip on the extinguisher while doing this.
  • Sweep: Move the nozzle or hose from side to side, covering the entire base of the fire. Continue sweeping until the flames are completely extinguished.

Safety Precautions

While using a fire extinguisher, keep the following safety precautions in mind:

  • Maintain a safe distance: Stand at a safe distance from the fire, typically around 6 to 8 feet. This prevents the fire from spreading and keeps you safe.
  • Evacuate if necessary: If the fire is spreading rapidly, is too large, or if you are unsure about using the extinguisher, evacuate the area immediately and call emergency services.
  • Use in the early stages: Fire extinguishers are most effective in the early stages of a fire. If the fire is already out of control, do not attempt to extinguish it yourself.

Call Tobin Restoration Fire Damage Services

Being able to properly use a fire extinguisher is a valuable skill that can save lives and property. In the event of a fire, remember that your safety and the safety of those around you should be the top priority. If in doubt, evacuate and call for professional help. If you have any damage to your home due to the fire whether it is smoke damage or any other fire damage, make sure to call Tobin Restoration to help. By following these guidelines, you’ll be better equipped to handle small fires and contribute to a safer environment for everyone.