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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

22nd December 2021

Anyone likely to have to your a fire extinguisher at any point should be fully trained on the different types and how to use them, as choosing the wrong type of extinguisher can have life-threatening consequences. 

This blog will explain the different types of extinguishers and how you should properly use them to ensure full safety when fighting a fire.

What are the types of extinguishers?

There are different classifications of fire that require different extinguishers to put them out. These classifications are:

  • Class A – fires caused by combustible materials, like paper, fabric, wood 
  • Class B – fires caused by flammable liquids, such as petrol
  • Class C – fires that are caused by flammable gases
  • Class D – fires caused by combustible metals
  • Class F – fires caused by cooking oils, such as a chip pan fire
  • Electrical Fires

Water extinguishers can be used to extinguish fires caused by organic materials within Class A, like fabric, wood, coal, and paper materials, however, they should not be used on kitchen fires or fires that involve electrical equipment.

Dry powder extinguishers, also known as ABC extinguishers, can be used for Class A, Class B, and Class C fires, but they should not be used in an enclosed space as the dry powder used within the extinguisher can be easily inhaled.

Wet chemical extinguishers are to extinguish Class F fires, which involve cooking oils and fats. If needed, they can also be used on Class A fires, however, it is more usual to use a water extinguisher for this type of fire.

CO2 extinguishers are mainly intended for electrical fire risks and are usually provided in computer server rooms due to the mass of electrical equipment. They also work to put out Class B fires, as they work by suffocating fires by displacing the oxygen it needs to burn.

Foam extinguishers are the most common type of fire extinguishers and are used for Class B fires, involving flammable liquids. However, these are water-based which means they can also be used for Class A fires, but not electrical fires.

Using a fire extinguisher

Before tackling a fire with an extinguisher, you should have raised the alarm and planned your evacuation. To correctly use a fire extinguisher, you can follow the four-step PASS technique:

  1. Pull the pin to break the seal
  2. Aim low and point the nozzle at the base of the fire
  3. Squeeze the handle to release the agent
  4. Sweep from side to side at the pass of the fire until it has been put out

Many people can put out small fires safely, however, death or serious injury can occur if someone decides to tackle a fire beyond their capabilities. Only tackle a fire if it is in the early stages and ensure you put the safety of yourself and others first.

For training on fire safety and how to use a fire extinguisher, then contact us today on 0800 799 9514, or click here to fill out our online enquiry form.