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Using a Fire Extinguisher

Only try to extinguish small fires. If the fire is too large, get out and close all doors behind you.

How to use a fire extinguisher:

  1. Pull the pin.
  2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze or pump the handle.
  4. Sweep from side to side at the base of the flame.

Not every extinguisher works on all kinds of fires, but some are effective on two or even three kinds of fires. Ensure your extinguisher will work on combustibles in the area by checking the classification of your extinguisher:

  • Class A – suitable for ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth and rubber
  • Class B – effective on flammable liquids such as fuel oil, gasoline, cooking grease and solvents
  • Class C – good for energized electrical equipment such as wiring, fuse boxes and electrical motors
  • Class D – designed for combustible metals such as magnesium, sodium and zirconium
  • Class K – designed to supplement pre-engineered kitchen suppression systems involving combustible cooking products

Extinguisher Tips

  • Always place yourself between the exit and the fire so that you can escape if the fire does not go out.
  • Buy extinguishers which have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as U.L.C.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location and operating instructions of your extinguishers.
  • For outdoor use ensure the wind is at your back.


Never place yourself or others in jeopardy by attempting to extinguish a fire. If you cannot extinguish a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher, or if the smoke becomes hazardous, leave the area. Close the door to confine and contain the fire. Activate the fire alarm, call 9-1-1, and wait outside for the firefighters to arrive.

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