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How to Properly Use a Fire Extinguisher

Aug 17, 2007
Though nobody wants to encounter a life and death situation where your survival depends a fire extinguisher, they nevertheless happen. Emergency situations are facts of life that one cannot really wish away or extinguish from the picture.

Different people react to emergency situations differently. Some people would panic and a simple fire extinguisher will become a major puzzle. Others would keep their head and their cool to think of solutions that could very well save their lives.

Panic, however, is hard to foresee and to control. It comes in the most inopportune of times, a time when you really need that level-headedness that you are known for. In times of panic, one will never really know how a person will respond. It is important therefore to plan ahead and learn the things that you need when emergency comes along.

With fire being one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in the country, lessons in disaster and emergency management will probably involve the fire extinguisher, an important emergency tool that can pretty much save lives of used the right way.

We see it encased in a glass housing in every building that we go to, in the restaurants that we eat at and even at the malls where we shop.

But who really knows how to operate it in addition to the fact that you need to break the glass in order to use it?

One of the first rules of using a fire extinguisher is the PASS. The acronym stands for the first letters of each steps that you have to take in order to use the fire extinguisher properly.

First, you have to PULL the pin, which can be found at the top of most fire extinguishers. Second, AIM the fire extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire. SQUEEZE the trigger while holding the fire extinguisher upright and aimed. Lastly, SWEEP the fire extinguisher from side to side. This will help you cover all the areas of the fire.

Here are some reminders that might come in handy the next time you encounter a need for a fire extinguisher.

1. When storing it in the house, it is important to have it near the entrance of the house as well as in the kitchen and the garage where fire usually starts.

2. Make sure that the fire extinguisher you are keeping in handy can still be used. There are cases of fire extinguishers being unusable because it has been stored for several years.

3. Knowing what to do with a fire extinguisher is not something that only you should endeavor. Demonstrate to the members of your family the basics of handling and managing a fire extinguisher. Let them touch it and carry it for a while so that at least they'll have an idea how to hold fire extinguisher in place.

4. Keep the fire extinguisher away from children, who can accidentally set it off. The rule of thumb is for the age of the user is that if the fire extinguisher is too big for you or too heavy a weigh for you, then you are much too young and small to be able to control it.

Experts advise that you allow older and stronger people to use it, as they can make proper use of every single drop of the fire extinguisher.
About the Author
James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of
ExtinguisherTown.com and writes expert
articles about extinguishers .
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