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Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? It's never too late to learn!

Last updated on: December 29, 2017 11:10 IST

While you wait for expert help, follow the PASS rule: Pull the pin, Aim the hose, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep the hose.

Fire extinguisher

Photograph: Courtesy minthu/Pixabay.com

What we do when we first spot a fire in a home, office or restaurant is key to stopping a fire from going out of control. And knowing how to operate a fire extinguisher is crucial to it.

But how many of us really know how to use a fire extinguisher?

How to use the fire extinguisher

The basic rule to remember when using a fire extinguisher is PASS: Pull the pin, Aim the hose, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep the hose.

Step 1: Pull the pin

Most fire extinguishers have a ring attached to secures them.

Keep the nozzle pointed away from you and pull this pin.

Step 2: Aim the hose at the base of the fire 

Identify the source of the fire.

Stand at a distance of about 8 feet and aim the nozzle at the source of the fire.

Remember not to aim at the flames.

Step 3: Squeeze the lever

Hold the hose in one hand and aim it to the source of the fire.

To use the extinguisher, press the clip shaped levers evenly to release it with the other hand.

Squeeze and release. Repeat.

Step 4: Sweep the hose from side to side at the base of the fire until it is out

Sweep the hose over the fire from side to side to douse the flame.

As the flames die down, you can move closer to the fire to aim the hose.

In case the flames escalate, distance yourself from the fire and wait for help.

If the fire doesn't go out, evacuate. 

ALWAYS REMEMBER

  • Most extinguishers only last for about 10-18 seconds. 
  • Don't let the fire, heat or smoke come between you and your way out.

But before you begin to fight fire, ensure these things:

  • According to the Directorate of Maharashtra Fire Services' fire safety education, the first thing to do when you spot a fire is pull the fire alarm.
  • The fire has to be small enough for you to fight it and it hasn't spread.
  • Evacuate people before you begin fire fighting.
  • There has to be an exit door for you to run to, in case you are unable to douse the fire.
  • Inform a fire safety officer just in case you are unable to fight and have to evacuate the premises.

When torn between the choice to exit the building or use the fire alarm, remember this:

  • You MUST exit the building when told to by the management. 
  • If you have been told to exit, you must exit even if there are fire extinguishers accessible to you. 
  • The exception is when you have been specially trained and are expected to use a fire extinguisher.

Rediff Get Ahead Bureau
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