Alert! Before using a fire extinguisher, ensure that someone: notifies the fire department, alerts others about the fire, begins evacuating others from the premises.

Fire extinguishers are for controlling small fires before they have a chance to spread. Before using one, make sure that: you have a clear escape, you are familiar with the operating instructions of the fire extinguisher, and that the fire extinguisher you have it suitable for the fire you are facing.

Before using the extinguisher on the fire, look at the fire class symbols on the front label to make sure the extinguisher you have is suitable for the type of fire you’re facing. Most common cases of fires are: A, B, C, K. Class A fires involve common combustibles like wood, paper and tires. Class B involve flammable liquids like gasoline and petroleum oil. Class C involve energized equipment or things that are plugged in like appliances, computers, tvs and electric machinery. Class K fires involved cooking oils and grease, like vegetable fats.

Once you have determined that the extinguisher is the correct type for the hazard, proceed to operate the extinguisher using the PASS technique to control and extinguish the fire.

Pull the pin- First, hold the extinguisher upright and pull the pin.

Aim- Next, stand 8-10 feet form the fire and aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Do not get too close or aim the nozzle too high.

Squeeze the levers- Once the nozzle aimed at the base of the fire, squeeze the levers together to begin the discharge of the fire extinguishing agent.

Sweep from side to side- Maintain your distance from the fire and sweep your nozzle from side to side, sweeping 3-6 inches beyond the right and left edges of the fire. Discharge extinguisher until contents are exhausted to prevent re-igniton. Move around the fire to make sure it’s completely extinguished.

Your quick action can save lives and protect property. Using the fire extinguisher properly is only one part of a fire safety plan.

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