Fire Extinguishers

Extinguisher Operation

To operate your extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS.

  • Fire ExtinguisherP — Pull the pin that unlocks the operating lever.
    (Some models may have other lever-release mechanisms.)
  • A — Aim low.
    Point the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire
  • S — Squeeze the lever above the handle to discharge the extinguishing agent. To stop the discharge, release the lever.
    (Some models may have a button instead of a lever.)
  • S — Sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side. Moving carefully toward the flames, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth.Read the manufacturer's instructions and be familiar with your extinguisher before you have to use it.Once the fire goes out, watch the fire area and be prepared to repeat the process if the fire re-ignites. Have the fire department inspect the fire site even if you're sure you've extinguished the fire.

Match Your Extinguisher To The Fire

There are three common classes of fire in the home. Your extinguisher must match the type of fire that could occur. Extinguishers are labeled with standard symbols or letters for the classes of fire they can put out.

Fire Extinguisher Classes


Class A fires involve paper, wood, and other ordinary combustibles.









Class B fires involve flammable liquids, such as oil, some paints, and gasoline.









Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as power tools, wiring, fuse boxes, appliances, TVs, computers and electric motors.




A multipurpose extinguisher labeled A, B, and C may be used on all three classes of fire.

Extinguishers labeled only for Class A fires contain water and are dangerous if used on cooking oil or electrical fires.

A red slash through any of the fire class-symbols on an extinguisher label tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire.

A missing symbol means only that the extinguisher hasn't been tested for that class of fire.

Choosing Extinguishers By Size

Portable extinguishers are rated for the size of fire they can handle. Ratings appear on the label — for example,

2-A:10-B:C.

The larger the number, the bigger the fire the unit can handle. Bigger models are usually heavier. Be sure you can handle the extinguisher you buy.

For questions about fire safety contact one of our Fire Prevention Inspectors at 574-3731