There is always the chance that you might encounter a fire, perhaps in your home or elsewhere, and you will need to be prepared by knowing how to use a fire extinguisher properly. When confronted with the urgency of a fire burning out of control, even the simplest things can become impossibly difficult for people with no prior experience.
So to help you stay prepared and safe, here’s how to use a fire extinguisher properly and safely.
#1. Call for help before attempting anything
You should ensure to call for help, right away, before attempting to put out a fire. That way, if it gets worse you are assured help is on the way and you would naturally be less worried and more likely to think clearly. Call an emergency service unit to give a brief description of the type of fire and your location. Also ensure the area has been evacuated to reduce panic and the risk of worsening the situation.
#2. Be sure you are safe before attempting to extinguish a fire
Before you attempt to extinguish a fire, be sure you are safe yourself. It is advisable to ensure that you are physically able to put out a fire from a position of safety, and you can easily access an exit. You wouldn’t want to be trapped if the fire gets out of hand. If there is too much smoke in the room, you should leave the fire to the professionals, as carbon monoxide can be quite dangerous for your health.
#3. Assess the danger
Fire extinguishers are made with limited capability, so it would be wise to assess the severity of the fire before you attempt to put it out. You wouldn’t want to jump into a burning room without being sure you have enough hardware to put out the fire. This will be counter-productive and dangerous.
#4. Read the instructions on the extinguisher
There are different types of extinguishers made to suit different kind of fires. You should endeavor to read the instructions before using them to avoid exacerbating the situation. There are also all purpose extinguishers that could be used for any type of fire. These are the safest to use if you are not sure of the origin of the fire.
Fire extinguishers are generally made with a safety pin that is held in place by a seal. Break the seal and pull the pin from the handle in order to use the extinguisher. Remember the acronym PASS which stands for: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever slowly to release the extinguishing material, and Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.
Releasing the lever stops the discharge of contents. Remember to operate the extinguisher from a distance, to ensure safety.