This page is intended to provide individuals with a quick reference guide on how to use a fire extinguisher.
Before using your fire extinguisher, be sure to read the instructions before it's too late. Although there are many different types of fire extinguisher, all of them operate in a similar manner.
Use this acronym as a quick reference (it is a good idea to print this reference and pin it next to your fire extinguisher):
Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.
Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.
Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher - different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!!
A typical fire extinguisher contains 10 seconds of extinguishing power. This could be less if it has already been partially discharged. Always read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher beforehand and become familiarized with its parts. It is highly recommended by fire prevention experts that you get hands-on training before operating a fire extinguisher. Most local fire departments offer this service.
Once the fire is out, don't walk away! Watch the area for a few minutes in case it re-ignites. Recharge the extinguisher immediately after use.
Follow these steps on how and when to use a portable fire extinguisher.
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