Public Education

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable Fire Extinguishers Buy Time!

Portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out and containing small fires.

IMPORTANT - Match the extinguisher to the FIRE!

There are 4 classes of fire. The most common classes of fire found in homes are Class A, B & C. Your portable extinguisher must match the type of fire you’re fighting. If it doesn't, you may get hurt or killed and/or make the fire worse. Portable extinguishers are labelled with standard symbols or letters for the classes of fire that they can be safely used on.

 

Ordinary comustibles (wood, paper, plastic, etc)

Ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, plastic, etc)

Combustible liquids (oils, gas, alcohol, etc)

Combustible liquids (oils, gas, alcohol, etc)

Energized electrical equipment (microwave, television, radio, etc)

Energized electrical equipment (microwave, television, radio, etc)

Combustible metals (aluminum, magnesium, zinc, etc)

Combustible metals (aluminum, magnesium, zinc, etc)

Combustible cooking oils & fats

Combustible cooking oils & fats


How Do I Use A Portable Extinguisher?

Using a portable extinguisher is not difficult and all extinguishers operate in the same manner. The instructions are located on the extinguisher, but if you can remember the acronym PASS, you won’t go wrong.

step one of using a fire extinguisher

Pull the pin - Give the pin a 180 degree twist to break the plastic seal and pull the pin straight out.

step two of using a fire extinguisher

Aim the extinguisher - Keep the extinguisher aligned in the upright position and aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

step three of using a fire extinguisher

Squeeze the handle - This releases the fire extinguishing agent.

step four of using a fire extinguisher

Sweep across the fire - In a slow action, sweep across the entire fire surface from one side to the other and back again until the fire is extinguished.

Once the fire has been extinguished, back away from the area, always watching it in case the fire flares up again. NEVER turn your back to it. Call the fire department to have them ensure that the fire has been totally extinguished.


When To Fight A Fire:

  • Is the fire small and confined to the immediate area where it started (i.e. waste paper basket)?
  • Has the fire department been notified?
  • Am I between the fire and the exit?
  • Can I fight this fire and safely escape?
  • Is my portable fire extinguisher rated for this type of fire?
  • Is my portable fire extinguisher big enough to fight this fire?
  • Do I know how to use this extinguisher and do I feel comfortable with it?

If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, you should not fight the fire. Evacuate the building!

If you answered “YES” to all of these questions, ensure that evacuation of the building has started. Make sure the fire department has been notified before attempting to fight the fire.

Two Common Mistakes

  1. People underestimate the power of fire!
  2. People overestimate what the extinguisher will do!

Downloadable Documents