How to use a portable fire extinguisher
In case of fire, you should always evacuate your home as quickly as possible. However, in some situations, a portable fire extinguisher can be very useful if it’s used properly. Do you know how to use yours?
The first thing to remember is that a portable fire extinguisher should only be used on a small fire or incipient fire — one in the initial stages — and only if the room isn’t filled with smoke. After all, it takes just three minutes to be asphyxiated. If you’re sure you aren’t in any danger, follow these steps to use your extinguisher:
1. Remove the extinguisher from its mounting and heft it in your hands to make sure it’s full. Check that the needle is in the green zone of the pressure gauge.
2. Position yourself between the fire and an exit (or with your back to the wind if the fire is outside) and approach within two or three metres of the fire.
3. Remove the safety pin by turning it and breaking the seal, as necessary.
4. Take hold of the nozzle and aim it at the base of the flames, pressing the lever down as far as it will go. Sweep the nozzle from side to side, always at the base of the flames, being sure to cover the entire width of the fire.
5. Stop only when the flames are extinguished or the fire extinguisher is empty. If the fire doesn’t go out or if the room is filling with smoke, evacuate the premises immediately. Call 911 and wait for the firefighters to arrive. If the fire seems to have gone out, call the fire department anyway; the fire could have spread into the walls.
After the fire, be sure to replace your fire extinguisher or have it filled, even if it isn’t empty. Place it near an exit where it is visible and easy to get to.