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P.A.S.S. the Fire Extinguisher

Using a fire extinguisher can be intimidating, especially if you do not know the proper way to use it. Lucky for you, there is a very useful anagram to help you remember the four easy steps.

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Pull: Pull the pin. There is a small pin that prevents the fire extinguisher from accidentally being used, all you have to do is pull it out and continue on to the next step.

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Aim: Aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.

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Squeeze: Squeeze the lever you just pulled the pin out of. Remember to squeeze it slowly and evenly, so it is as effective as possible.

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Swipe: Swipe from side to side to cover all areas the fire may have spread to.

To properly execute the steps to use the fire extinguisher, you must take some safety precautions. Assess the fire, if it is too big or uncontrollable don’t risk your safety by trying to put it out, evacuate the house and call 9-1-1 immediately. If the fire is small enough and can easily be put out and contained, continue to use the P.A.S.S. technique to put it out. Make sure to hold the fire extinguisher with the nozzle pointing AWAY from you, and keep your back towards a clear exit so you can easily exit if the fire becomes too dangerous.

Fire extinguishers should be stored on every level of the home and in areas like the kitchen and garage. Store them in accessible places or mount them on the wall for easy access in the event of any emergency.

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Types of Fire Extinguishers:

Fire extinguishers are categorized by ratings. These ratings determine the size and type of fire that the extinguisher can successfully put out. Fire can be divided into three categories: A, B, or C. An "A" type fire is primarily wood, paper and fabric. "B" type fires are primarily flammable liquids (such as gasoline) and oil based. Finally, "C" type fires are electrical in nature.

The number preceding the A, B, or C rating determines how big of a professionally set fire the extinguisher can put out. For example, a 10-B:C extinguisher would be able to handle a 25 foot square fire of either flammable liquid or electrical origin. A 5-B:C extinguisher could handle a 12.5 square foot fire that is flammable liquid or electrical based.

It is important for the whole family to understand how a fire extinguisher works, so be sure to read the instructions carefully and thoroughly, as well as having the right fire extinguisher for your home's needs. Know when the fire is too big and it is time to evacuate and call 9-1-1. And lastly, remember P.A.S.S. in the case of an emergency and you can be confident in your abilities!