How to Use a Fire Extinguisher


For any building, fire extinguishers are a crucial defence against a fire. With this in mind, knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is crucial. Undeniably, each building has a range of fire hazards that will need to be covered by different fire extinguisher categories.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher in 5 Steps

To use a fire extinguisher, follow these five steps:

1. Pull the pin to break the tamper seal.

2. Aim the nozzle low and point the nozzle/hose at the base of the fire (if you are using a CO2 fire extinguisher do not touch the horn as it can get extremely cold and damage your hand).

3. Squeeze the handle in order to release the extinguisher agent.

4. Sweep at the base of the fire from side to side to eliminate the fuel source.

5. Repeat step four until the fire has been extinguished.

If you cannot put the fire out or the extinguisher becomes empty, evacuate the building immediately. Of course, others in the building should have already evacuated. In fact, during your evacuation make sure all doors are closed behind you.

Fire Extinguisher Categories, How They are Split

Fire extinguisher categories are split into the following:

Carbon Dioxide is used to tackle electrical fires. Especially popular in offices.

Wet Chemicals are ideal for commercial kitchens. Obviously, they are needed to be used on cooking oils and fats found in deep fat fryers (F class).

Water is used on class A fires. i.e. paper, wood and textiles.

Water Additive extinguishers have a higher fire rating than water extinguishers and can be used to tackle class A type fires.

Dry Powder is the most versatile extinguisher. Generally known as a multi-purpose extinguisher because it can be used on class A, B and C type fires. Indeed, this extinguisher can tackle wood, paper, liquids and electrical equipment.

AFFF Foam is used to tackle class A and B type fires. e.g. plastics, paper, wood, cardboard, fabrics and flammable liquids (gasoline and petroleum oil).

Additional Information

  • When a fire breaks out a fire alarm will need to have been raised if it has not already been done so along with the fire brigade being called.
  • If you are going to tackle a fire with a fire extinguisher, make sure your evacuation route is safe and the fire is in its very early stages. Only tackle the fire if it is safe to do so and you have had the appropriate training to do so.
  • Never tackle a fire if you are uncertain or have doubts. Fire training courses are available from OHEAP.
  • At OHEAP we recommend putting above all fire extinguishers, extinguisher I.D signs to show what fire the fire extinguisher can be used on.

how to use a fire extinguisher

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