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