Fire extinguishers You spend all your time walking around the halls at work or school and hopefully at home.

But no matter how many times you’ve seen them in your daily life, you’ve probably thought little about how to actually use one. Perhaps it never occurred to you, or perhaps you think it is so simple that it is not something you have to learn.

Well, it is true that the use of a fire extinguisher is in no way rocket science, but there are some fundamental aspects that you should keep in mind, and probably are not. According to FEMA, most Americans do not know how to use a fire extinguisher, even if they have one at home. This is a dangerous knowledge gap. Fires double every 60 seconds, so you don’t want to search in an emergency situation, read the instruction manual while a small flame on the stove becomes hell.

Today we’ll talk about some guidelines for choosing a fire extinguisher and store it at your home, and then we’ll discuss how to use it.

Get in Position
If possible, position yourself with your back to the free exit so that you can exit quickly if necessary. The discharge range of the fire extinguishers can vary from 6 to 20 feet (know the flow rate of your fire extinguisher in advance) and you want to be far enough away not to risk burning and close enough to make the discharge effective.

To use the fire extinguisher with the correct technique, just remember the acronym “PASS”.

Pull the pin.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Striking the top of the flame with the fire extinguisher will not be effective. You must suffocate the fool at its base.
Squeeze the trigger. In a controlled manner, press the trigger to release the agent.
Sweep from side to side. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire goes out. Keep pointing to the base while you do it. Most fire extinguishers will give you about 10-20 seconds of discharge time.
Step back slowly. Even if the fire seems to go extinct, don’t turn your back. There may be invisible hot spots or hidden fires that can ignite in a large flame at any time. You want to be on your guard for that.

Once you’ve used a fire extinguisher, even if you haven’t run out of pressure, you should recharge it. Do it as soon as possible. If it is a disposable fire extinguisher, throw it away and replace it.

If it is possible to receive practical training with a fire extinguisher (some emergency services / community organizations offer lessons), it is strongly recommended to do so. But now you know the basics. The next time you see a fire extinguisher in the hallway, you can give it a wink when you pass it.

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