How To Use a Fire Extinguisher - Information and Advice

Portable fire extinguishers

There are a number of different types of portable fire extinguishers, each can be identified by the colour coding and labelling. There are four (4) basic steps for using modern portable fire extinguishers.

PASS is used to describe these four basic steps.

Pull Pin:
Pull pin at the top of the extinguisher, breaking the seal. When in place, the pin keeps the handle from being pressed and accidentally operating the extinguisher. Immediately test the extinguisher. (Aiming away from the operator) This is to ensure the extinguisher works and also shows the operator how far the stream travels

Approach the fire standing at a safe distance. Aim the nozzle or outlet towards the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handles together to discharge the extinguishing agent inside. To stop discharge, release the handles.

Sweep the nozzle from side to side as you approach the fire, directing the extinguishing agent at the base of the flames. After an A Class fire is extinguished, probe for smouldering hot spots that could reignite the fuel.

Helpful Tips

Ensure everyone in the workplace knows the location of all extinguishers and how to use them.

Operational safe working practices (If safe to do so)

- Remove the safety pin by pulling it sharply (this also breaks the plastic seal).
- Always try to work in pairs for safety.
- Carry or drag extinguisher to the scene of the fire.
- Hold the hose near the nozzle or hold any moulded handles.
- Squeeze the handles together to completely discharge the contents onto the seat of the fire.
- Operate extinguishers at their maximum effective distance.
- Never stand in an open doorway when attempting to extinguish a fire. This is usually the ventilation point for smoke, heat and steam, and could cause injury to the operator.
- Always back away from a fire
- Always lay the extinguisher down on its side when empty.

N.B. Ensure that an authorised fire extinguisher servicing company provides ongoing inspections and maintenance on all fire fighting equipment.

Please ensure that staff are trained in the different types of fire extinguishers and the classes of fire they should be used on.

Call us on 0800 862 0447 if you need further information we are always happy to help.