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Portable Fire Extinguishers

Content this page covers the following topics:    

Choose a Fire Extinguisher
Classes of Fire
Installation and Maintenance
Use the P.A.S.S. Word
Fire Extinguisher Training

A portable fire extinguisher can be a very effective tool in saving lives and property.  Use portable fire extinguishers to extinguish small, contained fires.

Portable fire extinguishers have limitations. They are not designed to fight large fires or those that may spread quickly.

Portable fire extinguishers are appropriate for fighting fires such as those on the stove top, in the oven or in a waste-paper basket. Use a fire extinguisher only if the fire is in its early stages.

Before you Attempt to fight a fire make sure that:

  • If the building has a fire alarm, it has been sounded. If not, alert the occupants.
  • Everyone has left or is in the process of leaving the building.
  • The Fire Department has been called.
  • The fire is small and confined
  • You have a clear escape route that will not be blocked by fire.
  • You choose the right type of extinguisher for the fire.
  • You have read the instructions and know how to use the extinguisher
  • Remember, do not fight a fire under any other circumstances! Instead, leave the building, close the doors behind you and immediately call the Fire Department

 Choose a Fire Extinguisher

Only choose extinguishers that have been tested by an approved testing laboratory and labelled for their intended use.

The extinguisher must be appropriate for the type and size of fire being fought.

It is important to select the appropriate extinguisher the for correct fire classification. Using the wrong type of extinguisher can make the fire worse and is dangerous to the operator.

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Classes of Fire

The three most common classes of fire are A, B, and C. The fourth class is D.

Class A extinguisher may be used on ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, plastic or cloth. The symbol may be found on water, foam or multipurpose extinguishers.


Class B extinguisher is appropriate for use on flammable or combustible liquids. The symbol may be found on multipurpose dry chemical, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide extinguishers.


Class C extinguisher may be used on fires involving energized electrical equipment. The symbol may be found on carbon dioxide, multi-purpose dry chemical, and dry chemical extinguishers.


Class D extinguisher may be used on some types of combustibles metals including combustible magnesium, sodium, and potassium. The symbol may be found on dry chemical extinguishers. You will rarely encounter a "D" Class fire in the home or office.

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Installation and Maintenance
 

Install extinguishers in plain view, near an escape route and away from stoves and heating equipment.

Extinguishers need to be cared for. Read operator's manual for inspection, installation and maintenance instructions.

Rechargeable models MUST be serviced after every use. (Service companies are listed in the Yellow Pages under Fire Extinguishers.)

Disposable extinguishers are very limited and can be used only once.

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Use the P.A.S.S. Word
 

To use a portable fire extinguisher effectively, remember to 4 step P.A.S.S. Word!

Pull the pin:  Holding the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, remove the pin, seal or the level release mechanism. This unlocks the operating lever.


Aim low:   Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire. Always hold the extinguisher vertically, never horizontally.

Squeeze the level fully:  This will release the extinguishing agent through the nozzle. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.

Sweep from side to side:  Sweep the nozzle from side to side aiming at the base of the fire. As the fire closest to you goes out, you may move closer to the fire and continue the sweeping motion until the fire is extinguished.

NOTE:  If your fire extinguisher is empty, stops extinguishing the fire or the fire grows larger, then leave the building immediately, closing the doors behind you.  Call the Fire Department, Ensure the Fire Department inspects the fire site even if you think the fire is extinguished.

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Fire Extinguisher Training
 

Portable fire extinguisher training is available for Town of Creston companies wanting to train their staff.  For information and costs contact the fire department at 250-428-4321.

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