In the event of a fire, you may only have seconds to escape safely. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. Once you have moved from the building, call 9-1-1. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters right away. They are equipped to perform rescues safely. Once you have called 9-1-1, contact a courtesy officer so they may assist with evacuation and directing emergency personnel.
Portable fire extinguishers are valuable for immediate use on small fires. They contain a limited amount of extinguishing material and need to be properly used so that this material is not wasted. For example, when a pan initially catches fire, it may be safe to turn off the burner, place a lid on the pan, and use an extinguisher. By the time the fire has spread, however, these actions will not be adequate. Only trained firefighters can safely extinguish such fires.
Use a fire extinguisher only if:
- You have alerted other occupants and someone has called the fire department
- The fire is small and contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket
- You have a means of escape identified and the fire is not between you and the escape route
If all of these conditions are NOT present, you should NOT try to use a fire extinguisher. Alert other occupants, leave the building and call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a courtesy officer. Once you have called 9-1-1, contact a courtesy officer so they may assist with evacuation and directing emergency personnel.
Most fire extinguishers operate using the following P.A.S.S. technique:
- PULL: Pull the pin. This will also break the tamper seal.
- AIM: Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire. Note: Do not touch the plastic discharge horn on CO2 extinguishers, it gets very cold and may damage skin.
- SQUEEZE: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- SWEEP: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out. Watch the area.
If the fire re-ignites, repeat steps 2-4.