March Safety Tips: Fire Extinguishers and Small Fires

Fire Extinguishers are only one element of a fire response plan. Fire extinguishers can be useful to contain small fires, but should not be the only form of fire protection in your home. FNESS recommends using a variety of home fire prevention equipment such as: smoke alarms, CO alarms, sprinklers and a home escape plan. Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area 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.

Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips:

  1. 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 and point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and provide even pressure.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  2. 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.
  3. Install fire extinguishers near the exits, in the kitchen, and near any indoor heating system such as a woodstove.
  4. If the room begins to fill with smoke, leave immediately.
  5. Know when to use a fire extinguisher and when to get out. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have both a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

 Fire Extinguishers and Children Messaging from NFPA:

NFPA believes that children should not be trained how to operate portable fire extinguishers. Teaching children to use portable fire extinguishers runs counter to NFPA messaging to get out and stay out if there is a fire. Furthermore, children may not have the maturity to operate a portable fire extinguisher properly or decide whether or not a fire is small enough to be put out by the extinguisher. They may not have the physical ability to handle the extinguisher and children may not know how to respond if the fire spreads. NFPA continues to believe that only adults who know how to operate portable fire extinguishers should use them.

The NFPA has great resources and additional information on Fire Extinguishers:

Please complete this form to receive the NFPA Fire Extinguisher Location and Placement Sheet:


Link to children and fire safety tips (552 KB) pdf file.

Link to Link to pdf  home sprinklers (715 KB) pdf file. 

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