Fire Extinguishers

Operating a Fire Extinguisher

Many people ask us if they should have a portable home fire extinguisher. The answer is yes and you should know how to use one! Research has shown that if someone has never operated and had proper training on the use of a fire extinguisher, they most likely will not use one if a real life situation.

The acronym PASS is used to help people remember the correct steps to operate a fire extinguisher;

  • Pull the safety pin by twisting and removing it from the handle.
  • Aim the extinguisher at the base of the flames.
  • Squeeze the handle to expel the extinguishing agent.
  • Sweep the nozzle side to side at the base of the fire.


The following are a few more tips:

  • One of the most common mistakes when using portable fire extinguishers is overestimating the size of fire that the extinguisher can handle.
  • Do not ever use an extinguisher if you have to position yourself where the fire is between yourself and your point of escape.
  • Purchase and use a tested (UL or FM) rated extinguisher of the ABC type. This is the most general-purpose extinguisher and is designed to help control fires of three types. Normal combustibles, (paper, cloth, wood, etc.) ignitable liquids, (gas, lighter fluid, oil, etc.) and small electrical fires.
  • Cooking fires in a pan are easily extinguished by placing a lid or a cookie sheet over the pan. A home extinguisher might push burning grease onto walls or cupboards so use caution!
  • Place an extinguisher in a place that is easily accessible and visible.

Knowing when to use or when not to use a fire extinguisher can be a tough decision. If you have any doubts, get out and call your local fire department. You can also learn more about and try a fire extinguisher online.