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When Should You Use a Fire Extinguisher

Posted on: August 8, 2013

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about how to use a fire extinguisher. For anyone who needs a refresher, here’s the rundown (remember P.A.S.S.):

  • P – Pull the pin at the top of the fire extinguisher. This releases the lock and allows you to discharge the extinguishant.
  • A – Aim at the base of the fire. Make sure you aim your fire extinguisher at the base of the fire instead of the flames so that you don’t risk blowing them around and causing the fire to spread.
  • S – Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishant from your fire extinguisher. The extinguishant will stop flowing as soon as the handle is released.
  • S – Sweep from side to side, covering up all areas of the fire’s source with the extinguishant until the fire is completely doused (remember: aim at the base, not the flames!). Make sure you start a safe distance away from the source of the fire (most fire extinguishers have a range of more than 10 feet) and work your way in until the fire has been completely extinguished. Wait a few seconds after it’s gone to make sure it doesn’t reignite.

Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is important, but equally important is knowing when to use one.

When should I use a fire extinguisher?

The obvious answer to this question is “In response to a fire.” But using a fire extinguisher without taking proper precautions of your own can put you at serious risk of injury without making the fire any less dangerous. Global safety testing and certification organization Underwriters Laboratories suggests you use a fire extinguisher only under the following conditions:

  • The fire is contained to a small area and is not growing
  • You know how to use the extinguisher (see above)
  • Everyone has safely exited the building
  • The fire department has been called
  • The room is not filled with smoke

Too often people are injured or worse while trying to control a fire with a standard portable fire extinguisher. At Confires, we want to remind everyone that while trying to put out a small fire can help protect your building, it’s more important that you stay safe and get out of the building unharmed. If you don’t feel comfortable extinguishing a fire on your own, don’t worry about it—that’s what your sprinklers are for!

If you do feel comfortable using your own fire extinguisher, it’s extremely critical that you make sure it is properly charged. Trying to use a fire extinguisher and finding out too late that it doesn’t work can put you at serious risk of bodily harm. Confires provides fire extinguisher recharge in New Jersey, and we highly recommend you call us once a year as well as any time you discharge your extinguisher (even a little bit!).

If you live in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia and need fire extinguisher recharge, or if you need fire extinguisher training for your company, call Confires today at 888-228-0917 or click here!

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