How and When to Use a Fire Extinguisher

In the United States, commercial buildings are required to have fire extinguishers readily available in convenient locations. Extinguishers need to be on every floor, in every room, and everyone should know how to use one. The type of fire extinguisher might matter depending on the size of your building and whether there are chemicals or hazardous materials on site. These fire safety devices are necessary even when you have a sprinkler system designed to extinguish fires in your commercial space. The canisters are portable, which sometimes makes them the best option for extinguishing smaller fires.

In addition to training every member of your team to properly use a fire extinguisher, be sure everyone also knows when it is appropriate to use an extinguisher.

The right times to use a fire extinguisher in Lawrenceville, GA

When it comes to putting out a fire, your first instinct is likely to grab the nearest fire extinguisher and use it. But not every time is the right time to use a fire extinguisher—especially if you don’t know how to use it properly. Using an extinguisher without taking the proper precautions can put people in the building at risk of bodily harm or worse.

Before using a fire extinguisher, make sure the fire is contained, the room is not filled with smoke and the fire is not spreading to surrounding areas. Keep an eye out for people evacuating the building and insist that anyone not holding a fire extinguisher leave the area immediately. Call the fire department if you can, or tell people leaving the building to call. If the fire is too much for the fire extinguisher, stop what you are doing and get out right away.

How to use a fire extinguisher

When an active fire is in progress is the worst time to forget how to use a fire extinguisher. To reduce panic in the event of a fire, pre-assign certain individuals to manage fire extinguishers, others to call for help and everyone else to get out. The “PASS” acronym is a good way to remember what to do:

  • Pull: Pull the pin that sits on top of the extinguisher. This releases the lock so the operator can discharge the extinguishing agents inside the canister.
  • Aim: Aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. Never aim directly at the flames, as this can cause the flames to blow around, spread and cause further damage. Aiming at the base of the fire is the right way to extinguish it.
  • Squeeze: After aiming, slowly squeeze the lever on the fire extinguisher. This will allow the extinguishing agent to release in a controlled, effective manner.
  • Sweep: Even before the extinguishing agent comes out, start sweeping the nozzle of the device from side to side. This motion offers better assurance that the area with the fire will be covered completely. Give it a few seconds until you are absolutely certain the fire is out and does not reignite.

If your business is due for a fire extinguisher inspection or you need more information about the right times to use a fire extinguisher in Lawrenceville, GA, call AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. today!

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