How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

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The PASS Technique: How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

The most common emergency for any small business is a fire and which is something that they need to plan for at all times. Fire extinguishers are an invaluable tool for small businesses and homeowners alike when it comes to fighting small fires. It can help protect evacuation routes and valuable equipment from damage. 

Determining The Type Of Fire

A fire can be broken down into three basic components. These are:

  • Oxygen.
  • Fuel.
  • Heat. 

The purpose of fighting a fire is to eliminate one of these things. When the fire does not have one, or a combination of these, it will die out. However, this means different things can act as a source of ignition and fuel. This is the reason why there are several different types, or classes, of fire. These are:

  • Class A: Combustible materials like wood, cloth and paper. 
  • Class B: Flammable liquid fires
  • Class C: Fires caused by flammable gases
  • Class D: Metal fire, especially when they are in the form of chippings or shavings
  • Class E: Electrical fires
  • Class F: Cooking, especially grease or fat

Once you have determined what type of fire it is, take a look at the extinguishers that you have available. If the extinguisher type you are looking for is not available, it would be best to evacuate and call the fire department for assistance. 

What Is The PASS Technique? 

Employers must make sure that their employees receive fire extinguisher training and also know how to assess a particular situation to determine if evacuation is the safest option. Also, businesses are required to ensure that their employees go through annual fire extinguisher training. 

PASS is a straightforward fire extinguisher training technique that anyone can learn. PASS is an abbreviation for: 

  • Pulling the pin on a fire extinguisher. 
  • Aiming the nozzle low so that it is facing the base of the fire. 
  • Squeezing the handle which releases the extinguishing agent. 
  • Sweep the extinguishing agent from the nozzle by moving it from one side to the next until the flames have been extinguished. 
Pass Method

Other Important Things To Keep In Mind 

Now employees knowing the PASS Technique certainly isn’t the end of the training. Employees who are meant to work as responders to a fire should also be well-versed in the following protocol:

  • It is important to sound the alarm, and if needed, then call the fire department. 
  • Make sure that the evacuation routes are safe before approaching a fire. 
  • The fire extinguisher should only be used with the PASS technique, and the person should back away if there is a flare-up. 
  • Sometimes the fire extinguisher will be out or empty, but the fire may still be raging; in that case, it is essential to leave the building. 
  • If the fire starts spreading fast to what can be handled with an extinguisher, then immediate evacuation procedures should be followed.

Fire Extinguishers Are For Small Fires 

While the PASS technique does work to ensure that employees can handle a fire extinguisher safely, it only works for small fires. If the fire is very large or the environment is dangerous, like in an oil and gas plant, then employees should know exactly how to evacuate. 

Employees shouldn’t fight a fire if: 

There is thick smoke that makes it difficult to breathe. At this point, the fire is impossible to fight without some type of respiratory protection. 

A smoky or hot environment can be challenging to stay in for a long time. Radiated heat can make it impossible to approach a fire using a fire extinguisher. Also, poor visibility further complicates an already tricky situation. All of which merit that employees leave it to the professional. 

Conclusion 

The fire extinguisher is one of the best safety tools in the event of a fire that any employee can handle. The PASS Technique makes using the extinguisher easy. However, it is just as crucial for an employee to know when using the extinguisher will work, this is why keeping your fire equipment maintenance up to date is essential.