How To Operate A Fire Extinguisher

There is a simple acronym to remember to operate most fire
extinguishers – PASS.

PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.

  • Pull the pin at the top of the cylinder. Some units require
    the releasing of a lock latch or pressing a puncture lever.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze or press the handle.
  • Sweep the contents from side to side at the base of the fire
    until it goes out.

Shut off the extinguisher and then watch carefully for a rekindling
of the fire.

When To Fight A Fire

You should fight a fire with a fire extinguisher only when all the following are true:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the building.
  • The fire department (DIAL 111) has been called.
  • The fire is small and confined to the immediate areas where it started such as in a wastebasket, cushion, small appliance, stove, etc.
  • You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
  • Your extinguisher is rated for the type of fire you are fighting and is in good working order.
  • You have had training in use of the extinguisher and are confident that you can operate it effectively.

Remember, if you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire – DON'T. Instead, get out, closing the door behind you to slow the spread of the fire, get out of the building and wait for the fire department to arrive.

Fire Extinguisher Types
  Class A Class B Class C Class D Class E Class F Comments
Type Wood Paper
Plastics
Flammable &
Combustible
Liquids
Flammable
Gases
For fire
involving
combustible
metals
Electrically
Energised
Equipment
Cooking Oils
and Fats
 
Water Fire
Extinguisher
YES NO NO Use only
special purpose
extinguishers
and seek expert
advice
NO NO Dangerous if used on
flammable liquid,
energised electrical
equipment and cooking
oils/fat fires
Wet Chemical Extinguisher YES NO NO NO YES Dangerous if used on
energised electrical
equipment
Foam Extinguisher YES YES NO NO LIMITED Dangerous if used on
energised electrical
equipment
Dry Chemical
(Dry Powder)
Extinguisher
YES(ABE)
NO(BE)
YES(ABE)
NO(BE)
YES(ABE)
NO(BE)
YES(ABE)
NO(BE)
NO (ABE)
LIMITED(BE)
Look carefully at the
extinguisher to
determine if it's a BE or
ABE unit; the capability is
different
Carbon Dioxide
Extinguisher
LIMITED LIMITED LIMITED YES LIMITED Not suitable for
outdoor use
Vaporising Liquid
Extinguisher
YES LIMITED LIMITED YES NO Check the characteristics
of the specific
extinguishing agent