How to use a fire extinguisher safely and effectively


    Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire? In many occurrences of fire, it’s not always safe or practical to try and put it out yourself therefore evacuation and calling the fire brigade may be the only option. However, if the fire is small and confined to a small area, we have written this advisory blog on how to use a fire extinguisher safely and effectively.

    Deploying a fire extinguisher correctly depends on which type it is and what type of material is on fire. Using the wrong extinguisher is at best ineffective, and at worst could intensify the fire, so ascertain the fuel first and then ensure you have the right type of extinguisher to hand before you tackle the fire.

    General safety principles:

    • Before use familiarise yourself with the extinguisher and how to use it before there is a fire, most extinguishers use a handle or lever, a hose with a horn or nozzle, a safety pin and seal, a pressure gauge, and the relevant fluid, powder, or gas
    • Ensure that you evacuate everyone else from the building in which the fire is
    • Make sure of an escape plan as this will ascertain the location of your fire exit or escape route
    • Make sure the flames are shorter than you and the fire is contained
    • Do not stay near the fire or use the extinguisher unless you feel safe to do so
    • Inspect the extinguisher and read the instructions before using/in the event of a fire
    • Check it is fully charged or it wont work (the pressure gauge at the top should be in the green area, if it is red the extinguisher has expired)
    • Check the safety pin is not bent or the nozzle clogged or damaged and remove the safety pin to break the tamper seal
    • Use the P A S S protocol – Pull the pin to unlock, Aim the hose at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever slowly, Sweep the hose from side to side
    • Stand so that your back is towards the nearest exit or escape route – never turn your back on a fire
    • Stand around 6-8 feet away from the fire, moving closer as it is gradually extinguished
    • Always aim at the base of the fire

    We also have a video of the P A S S technique in action on our YouTube Channel, Firechief Global.

    Here is a table of the different types of fire extinguishers and which ones should be used for different types of fires:

    The Firechief range includes high-performance fire extinguishers, fire blankets, first aid kits, lithium-ion fire extinguishers for your home and leisure time.  For more information, call us on +44 (0)330 999 0019 or email

    The information contained within this blog is provided solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions based upon this information, we advise the reader to consult any and all relevant statutory or regulatory guidance and where felt necessary to consult a qualified fire or industry regulation professional. The use or reliance on any information contained herein is solely at the reader’s risk.

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