A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire company arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.
- Use a portable extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; someone has called the fire company; and the room is not filled with smoke
- To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS
-Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
-Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
-Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
-Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
- For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher that is large enough to put out a small fire
- Read the instructions that come with the extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors offer hands- on fire extinguisher trainings.
- Install fire extinguishers close to an exit
- Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household and business should have a fire escape plan and working smoke detectors
Information compiled by firefighter Jim Belcher