What should you NOT do when using a fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher is legally essential to many workplaces, so numerous people know how to use one properly from the training provided to them. However, there is still some basic knowledge everyone should know if they find themselves in the unfortunate situation of a fire. 

Here are the 6 important things to remember when using a fire extinguisher:

Don’t ignore the instructions on the fire extinguisher

Using a fire extinguisher is nothing to joke about. It’s important that the chosen fire marshall knows exactly what to do for each individual fire extinguisher, as some models may work slightly differently compared to others.

Don’t use the wrong type of extinguisher for the wrong type of fire

This is crucial to ensuring that the fire is stopped from spreading further, for example, using a water-based fire extinguisher on an oil-based fire will not only escalate it, but also heighten the risk of damage to yourself or others.

Don’t rush towards the first unprepared

Although your instinct may tell you to rush towards the fire to prevent it from spreading, it’s important to take a few seconds to make sure that you’re approaching the fire safely. This includes looking at the source of the fire and its progression. Use this information to best position yourself to reduce the risk of damage to your health.

Don’t stand too close to burning liquid when attempting to extinguish it

If hot oil splashes onto your skin, especially whilst on fire, this could cause third-degree burns and scar your skin. The discharge range for all fire extinguishers should be at least 2 metres, so you won’t need to stand too close in order to extinguish the fire.

Don’t use the fire extinguisher against the wind

This may seem obvious to some, but targeting your fire extinguisher hose directly towards opposing wind will not help you reach the targeted base of the fire and therefore, you will fail to extinguish it.

Don’t leave the area unattended after you’ve ‘put out’ the fire

Although it may look like you’ve extinguished the fire, it may reignite under the right conditions. The area should be monitored over a period of time which has been deemed suitable by professionals. Inexperienced users of a fire extinguisher may not target the right areas of the fire, leaving it vulnerable to further fires as they’ll be unable to locate the cause of the fire.

Using a fire extinguisher is relatively simple and there is an easy way to remember the method. 

P.A.S.S. technique

  • PULL – Pull the pin that secures the handle. This will also break the tamper seal. 
  • AIM – Aim towards the base of the fire by pointing the extinguisher nozzle low. Hold the hose and not the plastic discharge horn with CO2 fire extinguishers, as this will get incredibly cold when CO2 is released. 
  • SQUEEZE – Squeeze the handle tightly to release the extinguishing substance.
  • SWEEP – The correct way to extinguish a fire is to slowly move your aim from side to side until the fire is out. If it reignites then repeat the process. 

Cheshire Fire pride ourselves on delivering fire safety training, equipment and advice to customers throughout Cheshire for over 25 years. Whether you need advice on fire safety in the workplace or fire alarms for your home, make us your number one stop. For more information on our products and services, please get in touch with a friendly member of our team today.