So you’ve already taken major a step towards fire safety in your home by acquiring a fire extinguisher, but do you know how to operate it? That heavy tank, the attached hose and nozzle and the pin that slightly reminds you of a hand grenade all make this big red contraption look a bit bewildering. Well fear not, because it’s much simpler than you think and we can help you learn to be a fire extinguishing pro in the time it takes to read this post.
Here are the basics, according to the NFPA, on using a fire extinguisher to put out a small fire. PLEASE NOTE: Only mature adults should attempt to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher. Children should always vacate the premises and call 9-1-1.
1. Pull the pin. In order to use your fire extinguisher you will need to pull the pin. We promise this will not make the mechanism explode in your hands! Pulling the pin will unlock the extinguisher and allow you to press down on the lever.
2. Aim. In order to successfully put out a fire, you must extinguish it at its source. From a safe distance from the flames, aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire to extinguish what is fueling it, not just the flames.
3. Squeeze the lever. Do this slowly to release the solution inside the tank onto the base of the fire. The discharge will stop after the lever is released.
4. Sweep back and forth. Make a sweeping motion with the extinguishing solvent to make sure the fire is completely put out. Once the fire starts to taper off you can move closer to make sure it is completely out. The average extinguisher will have about 10 seconds of power. If there is a fire in your home that you don’t think your extinguisher can put out in under 10 seconds then you should vacate the premises immediately and call the fire department.
5. DO NOT leave. Once the fire is completely extinguished you should closely watch the area where it was ignited to make sure it doesn’t start up again. Wait until the area has cooled and then clear any and all debris, disposing of it in a metal, fire-proof container outside of your home.
6. Recharge. Don’t forget to recharge your extinguisher so you will be ready if you ever need to use it again.
Don’t wait till there is a fire inside your home before you figure out how to use your fire extinguisher. Learn as soon as possible so you are always prepared to handle small fires. We recommend getting hands on training from your local fire officials or fire prevention experts, but this quick how to will give you the basic knowledge of how to put out a small fire in your home, should you ever need to.