How To Use A Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers Effectively Put Out 80% of All Fires

Learn How to Use One Properly, Follow OSHA:


The following steps should be followed when responding to incipient stage fire:

  • Sound the fire alarm and call the fire department, if appropriate.

  • Identify a safe evacuation path before approaching the fire. Do not allow the fire, heat, or smoke to come between you and your evacuation path.

  • Select the appropriate type of fire extinguisher.

  • Discharge the extinguisher within its effective range using the P.A.S.S. technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep).

  • Back away from an extinguished fire in case it flames up again.

  • Evacuate immediately if the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out.

  • Evacuate immediately if the fire progresses beyond the incipient stage.

Most fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique: 

1. PULL... Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal. Illustration of the P.A.S.S. Technique: 1 - Enlarged image of pull pin and tamper seal; 2 -  A wireframe man using a fire extinguisher is aiming at the base of a wood fire; 3 - He is squeezing the hose and an arrow is pointing to the fire; 4 - Arrows indicate the sweep directions. - Copyright WARNING: Not all materials on this Web site were created by the federal government. Some content — including both images and text — may be the copyrighted property of others and used by the DOL under a license. Such content generally is accompanied by a copyright notice. It is your responsibility to obtain any necessary permission from the owner's of such material prior to making use of it. You may contact the DOL for details on specific content, but we cannot guarantee the copyright status of such items. Please consult the U.S.Copyright Office at the Library of Congress — — to search for copyrighted materials.
2. AIM... Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire. 

Note: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage skin.
3. SQUEEZE... Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
4. SWEEP... Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2 - 4. 

  If you have the slightest doubt about your ability to fight a fire....EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!