The National Safety Council (NSC) website is loaded with tips for preventing, fighting and escaping fires, including the following tips on when and how to use a fire extinguisher:
Always put your safety first; if you are not confident in your ability to use a fire extinguisher, get out and call 9-1-1. The American Red Cross cautions you to evaluate the situation and ensure:
- Everyone has left or is leaving the home
- The fire department has been called
- The fire is small, not spreading, and there is not much smoke
- Your back is to an exit you can use quickly
Learn about the different types of fire extinguishers; not all will work on every fire. For home use, the National Fire Protection Association recommends a multi-purpose device large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy that it will be difficult to handle.
To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:
- Pull the pin.
- Aim low at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle slowly.
- Sweep the nozzle side to side.
Review the fire extinguisher instructions once a year. If and when you need to use a fire extinguisher, there won’t be time to learn how to do it.