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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

We should all have at least one fire extinguisher somewhere in our home. Every business is required by OSHA to have an approved fire extinguisher as well.

But simply having one on the premises isn’t enough. Your safety, as well as the safety of others, depends on you knowing how to use a fire extinguisher. At SERVPRO of East York, we’re here to cover how to use this fire-fighting device properly and put out a fire when it strikes your home or business.

PASS: How to use a fire extinguisher

There’s an easy mnemonic you can use to remember how to use a fire extinguisher: PASS. In the event of a fire, you should retrieve the extinguisher and stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire. Then, simply:

  • Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher
  • Aim the extinguisher nozzle low, at the base of the fire
  • Squeeze the handle or lever to release the extinguishing agent
  • Sweep the nozzle back and forth, all while keeping it aimed at the base of the fire

With this simple set of applied hand motions, you may be able to extinguish the flames. If you’re unable to put out the fire, you’ll want to get to a safe place—and we’ll show you how to prepare to do just that.

How to get to a safe place

It takes some planning to get to safety–planning before the fire, we mean. Before you even install a fire extinguisher in your home or business, you’ll want to think about where is best to place it.

Make sure you’ll have multiple exit options nearby after you retrieve it. Your fire extinguisher shouldn’t be stored someplace distant from all exit paths.

Of course, you can’t plan for every possible fire scenario. If the fire is in the path of the extinguisher, you’ll need to consider whether it is safer to retrieve it or safer to get yourself out of the building.

Don’t neglect fire extinguisher maintenance

Earlier, we said simply having a fire extinguisher isn’t enough. Well, having one and knowing how to use one isn’t enough either. You need a fire extinguisher that’s in good working order, and that means regular maintenance. But how do you go about maintaining a fire extinguisher?

First, every fire extinguisher comes with an expiration date. After this date, the extinguishing agent will go bad and may not be effective against the flames. If your fire extinguisher is expired, it’s time to have it replaced.

Secondly, keep an eye on the extinguisher’s pressure needle. It should always point to the green zone. If it drops to the red zone, it doesn’t have enough pressure to release the extinguishing agent. You’ll need to add pressure or “recharge” the extinguisher through a certified fire services company.

Be prepared for a fire

The best way to be prepared for a fire is to (1) have an exit plan and (2) have a working fire extinguisher and know how to use it. In the event of a fire, call the fire department as soon as you can safely do so. They have the equipment and manpower to put out the blaze.  

After the fire, contact us at SERVPRO of East York for your fire damage restoration and repair needs. We can restore your home or business to its pre-fire condition so life can get back to normal faster.

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