It’s easy to remember how to use a fire extinguisher if you can remember the acronym PASS, which stands for PullAimSqueeze, and Sweep. Most portable fire extinguishers work according to these directions, but some do not. Read and follow the directions on your extinguisher.

Always call the Fire Brigade on 999 or 112 immediately before attempting to extinguish a fire!

Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

Pull the pin. Some models require you to remove a locking pin on the handle or lever. Some models may have other lever-releasing mechanisms, such as a button.

Aim at the base of the fire

Aim low and direct the hose nozzle or cone at the base of the fire. If you aim at the flames, which most inexperienced users are tempted to do, the extinguishing agent will flow right through the flames, and be ineffective. You want the extinguishing agent to hit the base of the fire. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the safe distance from which to fight the fire. Most portable fire extinguishers must be used from a distance of 1.8 to 3 metres (6 to 10 feet) to be effective.

Squeeze the Handle

Squeeze the lever above the handle to discharge the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. Some models may have a button instead of a lever.

Sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side at the base of the fire. Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Never turn your back on a fire; watch the fire area in case the fire re-ignites, and repeat use of the extinguisher if necessary.

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