Using a fire extinguisher

Getting into Position

  • Ensure the extinguisher is fully charge and pressurized prior to approaching the fire.
  • A fire should be approached with wind at your back to ensure the agent will reach the fire.
  • If possible, position yourself with your back to an unobstructed exit so that you can escape if things get out of control.
  • NEVER put yourself in a dangerous position or in a position where you could become trapped should the fire grow out of control.


Extinguisher Range

  • Not all fire extinguishers have the same range for discharging extinguishing agents.
  • Discharge ranges are typically between 6 – 20ft(1.8–6m).
  • Each extinguisher should have its range displayed on its label.
  • Discharging should be done from a position as close to the labelled range as possible.
    • Discharging out of range can make the extinguisher ineffective or spread the fire further.


Extinguisher Discharge Duration

  • As extinguishers are only designed for small fires, their discharging durations are very short.
  • Although some extinguishers can last as long as 20 seconds, most are depleted in 8 to 10 seconds.
  • These are very limited time frames, which is why it is extra important to have the right size of extinguisher for the job and to be at the specified extinguisher range.