Fire Extinguishers

Safety is the No. 1 priority during a fire. Flames and smoke can spread very quickly, sending a small fire out of control in seconds.

While portable fire extinguishers can be of use during a small, contained fire that is caught in its initial stages, they do have limitations.

Safety Tips

If using a portable fire extinguisher, remember the following safety tips - courtesy of the National Fire Protection Agency:

Only use a portable fire extinguisher when:
  • The fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket or stove pan.
  • It is not growing.
  • Everyone has exited the building.
  • The fire department has been called or is being called.
  • The room is not filled with smoke.
Fire Extinguisher
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side at the base of the fire.

How to Choose a Fire Extinguisher

Select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not too heavy.

Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Read Instructions/Installation

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.

Install fire extinguishers close to an exit.

Tips When Using a Fire Extinguisher

  • Keep your back to a clear exit when using an extinguisher so you can make an easy escape.
  • If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.