Choosing Your Extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers are tested by independent laboratories and should be labelled for the type of fire they are intended to extinguish. It is important to know that fire extinguishers are not designed for use on large or spreading fires. Even on small fires, they are effective only under the following conditions:

  • The extinguisher must be rated for the type of fire to be extinguished.
  • The extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. The extinguisher must be in good working order, fully charged and within easy reach.
  • The operator must be trained in the proper use of the extinguisher.
  • The operator must be physically capable of lifting, handling and operating the extinguisher.


Which Extinguisher Should I Buy?

To ensure quality and availability of warranty, portable fire extinguishers must be made by a reputable manufacturer. Equally important, the extinguisher must be tested and listed by The Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC). Look for the ULC label on the extinguisher. This is your assurance that the equipment has been tested and will perform satisfactorily provided it is used and/or installed in accordance with the listing specifications. Also, the extinguisher must be labelled as to the type of fire it can extinguish.

Before deciding to fight the fire, always ensure the fire department has been called and that everyone in the building is evacuating.

When fighting a fire – remember the word PASS!

  • Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other lever-release mechanisms.
  • Aim low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.
  • Sweep from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.


Associated Information

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