2:Use a fire extinguisher for small, contained fires only. Fire extinguishers are not meant to fight large or growing fires. Only attempt to fight a fire if the flames are shorter than you, and if the flames are contained in a small space. Evacuate immediately if the flames are taller than you, or if the fire is spreading and growing.
- An example of a contained fire is a wastebasket fire. The fire is contained by the walls of the wastebasket and won't spread.
- Evacuate a room that’s filled with smoke.Never try to fight a fire on your own if the room is full of smoke. Smoke inhalation can lead to unconsciousness, and you'll be stuck in the room with the fire.
3: Stand with your back to an exit. Locate the nearest exit, and position yourself so your back is toward the exit. This will make it easy for you to escape if you have to leave quickly in an emergency.
4: Move to the proper distance. Many fire extinguishers have a range of between 8 and 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 m). Before discharging the extinguisher, move toward or away from the fire so you're standing 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) (1.8 to 2.4 m) away. You can move closer once you start dousing the fire and the flames die down.
5: Pull the pin. Every fire extinguisher has a pin inserted into the handle that prevents the fire extinguisher from being discharged by accident. Grab the ring and pull the pin out from the side of the handle.
- Now that the extinguisher is ready to discharge, hold the device so the nozzle is pointed away from you.
- Fire extinguishers in non-residential or high/medium density residential areas may have a zip tie attached to the pin to let the fire department know that they've been used. The zip tie is made to be easily broken.
6: Aim the hose at the base of the fire. Hold the lower handle lever (the carrying handle) with one hand and grab the hose or nozzle with the other hand. Point the hose directly at the base of the fire, because you have to put out the fuel that’s burning.
- Do not aim the hose at the flames. This isn't the fuel source, and you won't get much progress.
- With carbon dioxide extinguishers, keep your hands away from the plastic discharge horn, which gets extremely cold.
7: Squeeze the lever. To release the extinguishing agent, squeeze the two levers together with one hand while you aim the hose at the base of the fire with the other. Apply slow and even pressure when you squeeze the levers.
- To stop discharging the extinguisher, release the levers.
8: Sweep the hose from side to side. To extinguish all the fuel, slowly sweep the hose back and forth over the base of the fire as you discharge the extinguisher. Move closer to the fire as the flames die down.
- Continue discharging until the fire goes out. This includes any glowing embers, which can reignite.
- Back away and repeat if the flames flare up.Watch the fire closely to ensure the flames don’t flare up again. Back away slightly if they do. Aim the hose again, squeeze the lever, and sweep the hose across the base of the fire again to extinguish it. Never turn your back on a fire. You always want to be vigilant about where the fire is and what it’s doing.
9: Leave immediately if you're unable to extinguish the fire. The average extinguisher will have enough agent inside to go for about 10 seconds. Back away and leave immediately if the fire isn't out when the extinguisher is fully discharged.
- Call the fire department or emergency services if they haven't already been called