Use of Fire Extinguishers


Virtually all fires start small and might be extinguished if the proper type and amount of extinguishing agent were applied. Fire extinguishers are the first line of defense against fire. Whether an extinguisher is effective often depends on how you use it. However, an alarm should be given and security notified at extension 13 as soon as a fire is discovered. Notification should NEVER be delayed in the hope that the extinguisher will be sufficient. Please read the following guidelines to help you understand the different classes of fires, the different types of fire extinguishers and the correct operation of fire extinguishers.

Choosing the Proper Extinguisher

Class "A"
For ordinary type fire involving solids such as wood, paper, cloth, choose a water or dry chemical fire extinguisher with a label indicating CLASS "A" or "ABC."
CLASS "B"
For fires involving flammable or combustible liquids, choose a carbon dioxide extinguisher or dry chemical fire extinguisher with a label indicating CLASS "BC" or "ABC."
CLASS "C"
For fires involving live electrical equipment, choose a carbon dioxide or dry chemical fire extinguisher with a label indicating CLASS "BC" or "ABC."

General Guidelines

  1. Keep a clear exit behind you and let the extinguishing agent put the fire out. Water extinguishers have an effective range of 30-40 feet. Dry chemical extinguishers 5-12 feet and carbon dioxide extinguishers 3-8 feet.
  2. Pull the pin to activate the handle.
  3. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  4. Squeeze the handle to dispel the extinguishing agent. Use your senses, if you feel the heat you're too close, listen to the sound the extinguisher is making it changes as it becomes empty.
  5. Sweep the agent from side to side starting at the base of the fire. If you are making waves or splashing a liquid fire, you are applying (sweeping) the agent too slowly.
  6. Once the fire is out, carefully back away from the fire. NEVER turn your back on a fire as it can flare back up.