When using a fire extinguisher, you should always aim low and target the fuel causing the fire to burn.
How to properly use a fire extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers are common tools owned by the majority of people and present in many public areas.
They are simple tools to use when the instructions are followed in detail, but it may be hard to follow the required instructions during the time of need.
During a fire, most people become stressed out and go into panic mode.
Therefore, if you have not mastered the key instructions on using the extinguisher you can easily forget them and use them wrongly which will be ineffective in the situation or even cause more damage.
You should therefore ensure that you are conversant with the instructions and guidelines given and master them completely so that even when you are faced with a real fire and you are in panic mode, you can remember and follow the guidelines so as to reduce the damage that can be caused to you or those around you.
When you are fighting fires, confidence is the key.
Mastering these instructions gives you confidence because you are sure you can control the fire even though everyone else is panicking.
Techniques and guidelines
Here, I have compiled some of the best guidelines and techniques I have learned and some of the things you should avoid doing in order to use a fire extinguisher effectively.
• Be prepared
Preparation is very important in almost all aspects of life and using a fire extinguisher is not an exception.
Fire extinguishers are generally easy-to-use tools with clearly written instructions.
However, taking your time to read the instructions during a fire can be costly because time is of the essence when dealing with the fire to avoid damage.
You should therefore be familiar with the instructions of the fire extinguishers around you and read them often so that you can easily remember them and master how the extinguisher operates.
You need to repeat the process when a new extinguisher is purchased and always be prepared.
Most fire extinguishers are similar and work in the same way.
However, there are a few different ones and you should therefore always confirm and ensure you can use the available fire extinguisher with ease.
You should also ensure you know where they are located in the premises so that you can easily access and use them when needed.
When you are adequately prepared, you will not have to read the instructions during the fire but instead, get straight into combating it.
Pull the pin
The first step before using a fire extinguisher is pulling the pin out.
The pin is what locks the fire extinguisher.
Once it is pulled out, the extinguisher is unlocked and can therefore be discharged.
Aim the hose
The hose should be aimed at the base of the fire.
This is because the fuel causing the fire is at the bottom and in order to correctly extinguish the fire, you need to target the fuel.
There may be a temptation to aim the hose at the flames, when you do so the CO2 will pass through the fire and will not fulfill its purpose as required but instead, the extinguisher will be empty before the fire is out.
Squeeze the lever
Once you have aimed you will now need to discharge the CO2.
Squeezing the handle or lever of the extinguisher begins discharging it. If you stop squeezing the discharge will stop.
When you are done with one area, you can release the aim and re-aim at another target to extinguish it too.
Sweep back and forth
Once you have aimed and you are squeezing the lever you need to sweep the hose back and forth at the fuel in order to get all parts of the fuel and extinguish it completely.
When combating the fire, you should start at a sensible distance then move closer as the fire reduces.
Where should you aim a fire extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers are simple tools to use but you should always familiarize yourself with the instructions to avoid panicking during a fire.
You should always be prepared and use the P.A.S.S method,
P – pull the pin
A – aim the hose
S – squeeze the lever
S – sweep back and forth
Once the instructions and guidelines are followed you can be sure to put out fires and guarantee your safety and that of your loved ones.
I am an independent safety and survival expert and consultant. I have over 15+ years of experience working with corporations and individuals to help identify, remediate and prepare for threats and and disasters. I help clients understand risks and blog about my thoughts and techniques at DisasterShelters.net