These 3 common types of fire extinguishers (ABC) are often found in homes and businesses. Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C.
Help people decide when to use a fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers can be helpful on a small fire. Consider providing a checklist to help people prepare to use a fire extinguisher on a potential fire.
- Have I alerted others in the building that there’s a fire?
- Has someone called the fire department?
- Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
- Is the fire small and contained in a single object (like a pan or a wastebasket)?
- Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
- Do I have a clear escape route?
Use a fire extinguisher when all of these questions are answered “yes.” If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s safe to use a fire extinguisher, and for all other situations, alert others, leave the building, and call 911 from a mobile or neighbor’s phone. It is not recommended that children use fire extinguishers.
Teach people how to use a fire extinguisher
When operating a fire extinguisher, tell residents to 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.
Educate on the importance of fire extinguisher maintenance
Remind citizens to check fire extinguishers for:
- Easy access in an emergency
- Be sure nothing is blocking or limiting your ability to reach it.
- The recommended pressure level
- Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low.
- Working parts
- Make sure the can, hoses and nozzles aren’t damaged, dented, or rusted.
- Remove any dust, oil, or grease that might be on the outside of the extinguisher.
- Guidelines and instructions
- Some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly, others need to be pressure tested every few years.