Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

  1. When to Use an Extinguisher
Use a portable fire extinguisher when:
  • The fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket
  • The fire is not growing
  • Everyone has exited the building
  • The fire department has been called or is being called
  • The room is not filled with smoke.

Operating a Fire Extinguisher
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
  1. Pull the pin.
  2. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
  3. Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  4. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  5. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Instructions to using a fire extinguisher
Selecting a Fire Extinguisher
For the office, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. This type of extinguisher will be a dry chemical agent with an A-B-C classification. Extinguishers installed shall have a minimum rating of 2-A. For more information, see our Fire Extinguisher Classification page.

Independent Testing Laboratory
Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory (UL).

Reading the Instructions
Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher training.

Where to Install Extinguishers
Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

Leaving the Extinguisher
Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are 1 element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every business should have a fire escape plan.