Fire extinguishers should only be used in the following circumstances:
- When everybody has been evacuated and accounted for at a safe meeting place
- When the fire department has been called
- When it is safe to do so considering the size and position of the fire
- When access to the fire is unrestricted and a quick, safe retreat is possible
at all times
If using an extinguisher on a fire – keep between the door and the fire
How to decide whether to use a fire extinguisher
Before using an extinguisher on a fire in your house, make sure of the following:
- Everybody in the house has been evacuated and accounted for
- The fire department has been called immediately on the 911 emergency
- Only use an extinguisher after you have done the first two items
It’s safer to get everyone out & call the fire department than to be a hero
If you still feel that you can use an extinguisher on the fire then check:
- Can the extinguisher be reached without going near the fire?
- Is the fire small and contained?
- Can you escape safely if the fire gets bigger?
If you still can’t control the fire, then leave immediately and close the door
About fire extinguishers
As well as knowing when it is safe to use an extinguisher there is practical
information you need to know:
- What is the best type?
- Where should it be installed?
- How is it operated?
- How is used it efficiently on a fire?
- Where, when and how should it be serviced to maintain its efficiency?
Learn the ABCD of extinguishers
Class of fire Extinguisher
- Class A
Materials such as wood, paper, textile hose (garden / reel)
Water filled extinguisher
Multi-purpose dry powder
- Class B
Flammable liquids, fats, solvents
Multi-purpose dry powder
Light water (afff)
- Class C
Gases, such as acetylene, lpg and natural gas – Turn off gas first
Use a suitable extinguisher for the remaining fire.
- Class D
Metals such as sodium potassium and magnesium
Special dry powder
Where should fire extinguishers be installed?
- In the home
The extinguisher should be wall mounted above the normal reach of children,
in or near the kitchen. If it is mounted in the kitchen, the extinguisher should
be handy but not too close to the stove or cooking areas.
- In the garage
The fire extinguisher should be wall mounted above the normal reach of children near the external exit.
- In the car
The fire extinguisher should be in a position easily accessible to the driver, preferably in the passenger compartment.
- In the boat
The fire extinguisher should be positioned outside the engine space in a protected position where it can be reached from the open deck.
How do I operate a fire extinguisher?
If you must use your extinguisher:
- Carefully read the instructions on how to operate it.
- Position yourself so that the extinguisher can be aimed at the base of the fire. Get down nice and low and this allows you to get closer to the fire.
- When in position start discharging the extinguisher with a sweeping, back
and forth motion across the base of the fire.
How do I know I am buying a reputable fire extinguisher?
The Zion Fire Rescue Department recommends that all fire extinguishers comply
in design, construction and performance with the UL standards. The extinguisher
should carry the UL label of approval.
How do I maintain my fire extinguisher?
- They should be inspected annually by a competent, trained service person. (Check yellow pages for local companies)
- Do monthly visual inspections for signs of tampering or deterioration.
- Make sure the extinguisher is still in position and the seal remains unbroken.
- Recharge extinguisher after any use, no matter how small.