Retaining, properly maintaining and locating your workplace fire extinguishers is not only important; it is also a legal requirement! OSHA standards require that employers provide portable fire extinguishers that are easy to locate and that these extinguishers are properly maintained in a fully charged and operable condition.
But knowing where your workplace’s fire extinguishers are located is meaningless if you do now know how to properly use one. We recommend that supervisors gather their employees and demonstrate the P.A.S.S. technique for properly using a fire extinguisher.
- Pull the pin! The pin in the handle is designed to prevent accidental discharge. There is also usually a thin plastic tamper seal holding the pin in place. It easily breaks when you pull out the pin.
- Aim for the base of the fire! This where you should aim because it is the source of the fire. Aiming at the base ensures that you are attempting to extinguish the burning material that’s fueling the fire. The flames themselves will not extinguish on their own.
- Squeeze the handle! This causes the extinguishing material to discharge. Remember to keep a safe distance!
- Sweep from side to side! You should not concentrate your aim on one area. Covering all of the burning material ensures a better chance of successfully extinguishing the fire. Keep an eye on the material to make sure it doesn’t reignite after it is extinguished.
The most important thing to remember when there is a fire is to keep calm. Once you are ready to fight the fire, simply remember the P.A.S.S. technique.