picture of fire extinguisher

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Does everyone in your family know how to operate a fire extinguisher? With proper training and education, fire extinguishers can save lives – and property! Remember, never use water to try and put out electrical or grease fires. This can make matters worse, especially if you don’t have a fire extinguisher handy! First, switch off the power or heat. Then, try to safely smother the flames. For electrical fires, use a clean, non-flammable blanket. Grease and other cooking fires are best extinguished using baking soda or covering with a metal lid. However, water is safe to use on gas fires! First, shut off the gas supply. Then, use a thick rug or cool water to smother the flames.


It’s extremely important to both have the correct type of extinguisher and to make sure it is easily accessible. Periodically check to make sure the can, hose, and nozzle aren’t damaged, dented, or rusted. Additionally, note that some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly, and others may need to be pressure tested every few years. Also make sure to routinely check the pressure gauge, if your extinguisher has one. Click here to get more information on fire extinguisher use and recalls!


How to Use a Fire Extinguisher: P.A.S.S.

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

5 Types of Fire Extinguishers

  1.  A – for ordinary materials (cloth, wood, paper)
  2.  B – for combustible & flammable liquids (grease, gas, oil, oil-based paints)
  3.  C – for electrical equipment (appliances, tools, plugged-in equipment)
  4.  D – for flammable metals
  5.  K – for vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats in cooking appliances