Washington Bottom Volunteer Fire Department
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Fire Extinguisher Classification
Fire Extinguisher Operation
Choosing A Fire Extinguisher
Know Your Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers

Know the PASSword

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Fire Extinguisher Classification

  • Class A: Fire that involves combustible materials such as paper, wood, and cloth.
  • Class B: Fire that involves flammable gases and liquids.
  • Class C: Fire that involves electrical equipment.
  • Class D: Fire that involves combustible metals such as potassium and magnesium.

  • Residents are recommended to purchase a multi-purpose fire extinguisher or an ABC extinguisher.

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Fire Extinguisher Operation

    Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

    To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled.
  • If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

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Choosing A Fire Extinguisher

  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

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Knowing Your Fire Extinguisher

  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.
  • Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
       Source: National Fire Protection Association

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