Fire Extinguishers: How (and When) To Use One

fireextinguishers_1While the Springfield Fire Department firmly believes that it's not your job to fight a fire, we also recognize there are times when using a fire extinguisher could potentially prevent injuries and even save lives.  It's for this reason we encourage citizens to learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

What type of extinguisher should I put in my home?

As a general rule, portable fire extinguishers for the home should have a rating of at least 2-A:10-B:C.This is also known as an ABC Dry Chemical extinguisher. This type of extinguisher will put out most fires that occur in the home, including ordinary combustibles (paper, wood, plastic), flammable liquids (cooking grease) and electrical equipment (toaster oven). 

Extinguishers should be placed near an exit and should be regularly maintained or replaced following the manufacturer's guidelines.

When is it safe to use a fire extinguisher?

Before using an extinguisher, make sure:

  • No one needs help evacuating.
  • Someone is calling 911.
  • You know how to use it.
  • The fire is small and contained (no larger than about the size of a small trash can).
  • Smoke conditions have not deteriorated.

When using an extinguisher, always make sure your back is to an exit. Use the entire extinguisher, even if it looks like the fire is out. After attacking the fire, back out of the room, close the door on your way out, evacuate the building and wait for the fire department to arrive to ensure the fire is completely out.  Do not re-enter to check on the fire.
Never turn your back on a fire and never use more than one extinguisher!

When in doubt, get out!

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

The best way to use a fire extinguisher is to remember the acronym PASS.

Pull the Pin
Aim the Nozzle
Squeeze the handle
Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire

Remember, you should aim the nozzle at what is burning, not at the flames.

Fire Extinguisher Training

Learn how - and more importantly, when - to use a fire extinguisher during this interactive training available from the Springfield Fire Department.   

Fire Extinguisher training can be provided for up to 30 participants.A short presentation followed by an extinguisher demonstration if one is provided by the requestor. To schedule a training contact Fire and Life Safety Educator Heather Parker at 417-874-2380 or fill out an online request. Please contact the Community Risk Reduction Department at [email protected] if you have any additional questions.