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How to use a fire extinguisher

In the event of a fire, safety is paramount. Building evacuation plans should be well-known and followed and fire alarm systems and fire fighting equipment must be present. The most common fire fighting equipment is the fire extinguisher, and within your workplace or commercial building you’ll find one closeby. Although easily identifiable, it is not unusual for an individual to be unable to effectively use a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire. In this article, we shall be explaining how and when to use a fire extinguisher.

How to use a fire extinguisher

In order to be able to extinguish a fire effectively, it is essential you know how to correctly operate a fire extinguisher. This piece of fire fighting equipment has been designed to be universally easy to use. When using an extinguisher, you just need to remember the PASS method:

  • Pull – pull out the lock pin at the top of the extinguisher
  • Aim – aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
  • Squeeze – squeeze the lever slowly to release the extinguishing substance
  • Sweep – move the nozzle from side to side in a sweeping motion until the fire has been fully extinguished and shan’t reignite

When to use a fire extinguisher

Even if you have a fire extinguisher available, it is not always appropriate to use one in the event of a fire. You should only use a fire extinguisher under certain circumstances:

  • The fire is in its early stages. Fire extinguishers aren’t designed to tackle large fires; if the fire is larger than you, get out and wait for the fire service to tackle the blaze.
  • After evacuating and calling the fire service. Make sure the fire service has been alerted and that everyone at risk in the building has evacuated.
  • Whilst your evacuation route is still clear/accessible. Always ensure you can exit the building in the event your efforts aren’t successful.
  • The room isn’t too smoky. If there is a lot of smoke build up already, you shouldn’t attempt to tackle the fire. The fire service will have breathing apparatus to aid their efforts.
  • If you are confident in using the extinguisher. If you have any doubts about using an extinguisher, don’t. Get out of the building and wait for the fire service professionals. If there is imminent need to use an extinguisher, don’t waste time and risk your safety by reading instructions or mishandling an extinguisher.


Protect & Detect can help improve your building’s fire safety through the provision of reliable, high-quality fire extinguishers, fire alarm systems and further fire safety accessories. Our experienced, qualified professionals can also carry out maintenance for fire fighting equipment and offer fire risk assessments of your property to help identify and reduce hazards. Operating throughout Ipswich, Cambridge, Chelmsford and the surrounding areas, we aim to improve the fire safety of all our customers’ properties. For further information about our products and services, contact our helpful team today.


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