Fires are classified according to the type of material that is burning. Fire extinguishers are made specifically to extinguish the different classes of fires. It is very important that you choose a fire extinguisher that is adequate for the materials that you may need to use it on.
In a common household, we recommend you install a minimum of a five-pound ‘ABC’ Dry Chemical Extinguisher (or a “2A:10BC”). These extinguishers are designed for the most common household items: wood and paper products, flammable liquids, and energized electrical equipment. Your fire extinguisher should be mounted and placed in a location that is easily accessible and near an exit.
Rules for Using Fire Extinguishers:
- Make sure you know how to use the extinguisher before you need it.
- Make sure that everyone has left the building, is safe, and someone is calling 9-1-1 to report the fire the notification and evacuation of persons in the building should be done before attempting to extinguish (remove the highlighted red area and this text).
- It is okay to attempt to extinguish the fire if it is confined, small, and not spreading quickly.
When using a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:
P – Pull the pin
A – Aim the nozzle
S – Squeeze the handle
S – Sweep from side to side
Start by using the extinguisher from a distance of 2.5 – 3 metres (8 10 feet), and then you can slowly move closer. Always aim the nozzle at the base of the fire and not at the flames above it.
Fire extinguishers only last a short time, which is why they are only effective on small fires. Even if you think you have put the fire out, call the fire department to have them come and double check. Sometimes there can be small embers that continue to smoulder, which under the right conditions, can re-ignite the materials around them.