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Fire Extinguisher Use

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IMPORTANT: Kidde has recently recalled a large number of fire extinguishers with plastic handles because they failed to work properly. Visit to see if your extinguisher is part of the recall.

Fire_Dept_School_5Fire Extinguisher Use

Only use portable fire extinguishers when:

  • Fire is confined to a small area (such as a wastebasket)
  • Fire department has been called or is being called
  • Evacuation has begun
  • The room/area is NOT filling with smoke


Fire_Dept_Extinguisher3_2For the home/office select a multi-purpose (Class ABC) extinguisher:

  • Large enough to put out a small fire
  • Not too heavy


  • Locate the extinguisher close to an exit
  • Keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape
  • If the room/area fills with smoke or the fire isn’t being controlled: Leave immediately


Fire_Dept_Extinguisher1_1To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS

  • Pull the pPn – 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 (from 6-8 feet away)

  • Squeeze the Lever – Squeeze slowly and evenly

  • Sweep the Nozzle from Side to Side – Sweep 3-6 inches beyond fire edge until contents depleted


To dispose of an extinguisher:

Fire Extinguisher FAQs

When should I replace my fire extinguisher?
Residential fire extinguishers typically have an operating life of approximately 10 years (always check with the manufacturer). If you do not know the age of your extinguisher, it is best to replace it.

How do I know if my fire extinguisher is still usable?
Check the gauge on the extinguisher. The needle should be in the green area indicating that the extinguisher is pressurized, full and functional.

What type of extinguisher should I have in my home?
An “A-B-C” rated extinguisher is recommended for residential usage.

When should I call 911?
Any time you use an extinguisher, it is safest to call 911. There is always a chance material could still reignite.