If you provide fire extinguishers, you must train workers in their proper use.
Here are five training basics.
1. Examine your facility’s fire extinguishers. Show an example of
each type of fire extinguisher found in your building. Pass the
extinguishers around so everyone can see and handle them.
Discuss the various types, their location within the facility,
how to access them and the kinds of fires on which each would
and would not be used.
2. Demonstrate the use of fire extinguishers. Emphasize the following
• Do not fight a fire that is larger than a desk, is producing black smoke or
has flames reaching the ceiling.
• Before using an extinguisher, always make sure the fire department has
been called and the building is being evacuated.
• In most cases, fire extinguishers should be used to fight your way to safety.
3. Discuss basic safety rules. Explain the four rules of fire extinguisher safety.
• Always call 911 before using an extinguisher.
• Stay low and keep your back to the exit.
• If you are unable to extinguish the fire, leave and close the door
• Don’t force yourself to fight any fire that makes you nervous. If you aren’t
comfortable using a fire extinguisher, help others evacuate and wait for the
fire department to arrive.
4. Teach how to operate fire extinguishers. Educate your employees on the
proper way to use a fire extinguisher. This involves standing 6 to 8 feet away
from the fire and following the four-step PASS procedure recommended by the
National Fire Protection Association:
P: Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away
A: Aim low at the base of the fire.
S: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to discharge the extinguishing agent.
( When the agent first hits the fire, the fire may briefly flare up. This should be
S: Sweep the nozzle from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep
the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire.
5. Practice. If you have extra fire extinguishers—ones not required for building
protection—let employees practice discharging them in an open outdoor area.
A garbage can makes a good target and will help contain the extinguishing
agent. Since the dry chemical powder used in some extinguishers can be
corrosive to certain metals, do not conduct this exercise near cars or other
Have each person take a turn removing the pin, aiming the extinguisher,
squeezing the handle and applying the agent in a sweeping motion. Just a few seconds of discharging the extinguisher
will give a feel for the real thing. Several people can usually use one extinguisher before it runs out of chemicals.
of your extinguishers. Train
all employees in the basics of
extinguisher operation. The
box below explains the type of
training that will ensure your
employees are ready to use the
extinguishers if the need arises.
8. Hold fire drills. Periodically,
conduct fire drills to
practice your building
Fire Extinguisher Training