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How to Fight a Fire Safely


  • Have an escape route.  Have an exit behind you before attempting to extinguish a fire.  Stand several feet away from the fire and only move closer when the fire starts to diminish.
  • Remember to aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire and make a sweeping motion while extinguishing.
  • Watch the area after extinguishment to ensure the fire does not reignite.
  • Know if your extinguisher works.  Inspect extinguishers once a month for dents, leaks or other signs of damage.  Assure the pressure is at the recommended level.  On extinguishers equipped with a gauge, the needle should be in the green zone - not too high and not too low.
  • Know how to use your fire extinguisher.  There's not enough time to read instructions when a fire occurs.


  • Try to extinguish a large or rapidly spreading fire.  Only use a fire extinguisher when the fire is in its early stages.  Remember, a fire can double in size within two or three minutes.  If the fire is already spreading quickly, evacuate and call the fire department.  Do not inhale smoke!  Seven out of ten fire-related deaths occur from breathing poisonous gases produced by the fire.
  • Let the fire get between you and your exit.  Remember, always have an exit behind you.
  • Try to fight a fire if you don't know what is actually burning.  Using the wrong type of extinguisher for the material burning will be not as effective, totally ineffective or possibly hazardous.  Some materials will react negatively with some extinguishing agents which could cause an explosion or produce highly toxic vapors.
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