Properly fighting small fires
Fire extinguishers are designed to fight fires in their early stages when the fire presents a relatively small hazard. An extinguisher can be used when the fire possesses the following characteristics:
If a fire is too large, if there is too much smoke or if you are too frightened, evacuate immediately.
Use the PASS method:
- Slow growing
- Giving off minimal smoke
- Emitting minimal heat
- The safety pin is usually held in place by a plastic seal and will pull off. Do not push down on the operating lever while pulling the pin, it won’t come out.
- Aim at the base of the fire, the lowest flame closest to you. The base of the fire will recede from you as you use the extinguisher, so you must adjust your aim.
- The operating lever is above the carrying handle. The operating lever opens the valve when you squeeze it down. When you let go, the valve closes and the discharge stops
Know Your A, B, Cs
Using the wrong fire extinguisher can result in more damage than the fire itself. All extinguishers have nameplates identifying their usage instructions, as outlined below.
Class A Fires
- Sweep the nozzle by moving your arm at the elbow. Direct the discharge to cover the entire width of the base of the fire.
Class B Fires
- Only use Class A extinguishers for wood, paper, trash and other items that produce glowing embers as they burn. Class A extinguishers should never be used on gas or electrical fires.
Class C Fires
- Only use a Class B extinguishers to fight fires caused by flammable liquid and gas (gasoline, paint thinners, solvents, grease and acetylene).
There are also extinguishers known as a Class ABC extinguishers, which can be used for all types of fires.
- Use a Class C extinguisher only to fight energized electrical equipment fires.