How may you keep this...

A pan catches fire and a man falls to the floor in a kitchen.

...from turning into this?

A house on fire.

Planning, practice, and proper use of a fire extinguisher can keep a small fire from spreading.

Step #1: Decide when to use a fire extinguisher

Use fire extinguishers on small fires only. 🔥

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If there is a small fire at your location:

  1. Activate the fire alarm and alert neighbors.

  2. Call the fire department if necessary.

  3. Find a safe evacuation path free from fire, heat, or smoke.

  4. Locate the appropriate type of fire extinguisher.

  5. Use the PASS technique to operate the fire extinguisher (more on this below).

  6. Back away and evacuate to a safe space outside of the building.

A woman is leading people away from an area quickly.


Which factors should you consider when deciding whether or not to use a fire extinguisher? Select all that apply:

Step #2: Select the correct type of fire extinguisher

There are 5 types of extinguishers: A, B, C, D, and K. Each one puts out different types of fires. Decide which one will be suitable for your needs.

Each symbol below is for a specific "Class" of extinguisher:

An illustration of 5 categories (A, B, C, D. & K) of fire extinguishers for different types of fires. To hear an audio description of the text in the image above, click the play button on the audio player below:

There are also multipurpose fire extinguishers that might be labeled 'B-C'or 'A-B-C'. Most home improvement stores carry multipurpose fire extinguishers that cover Class A through Class C.

— U.S. Fire Administration

Step #3: Use PASS to operate your fire extinguisher

Remember the word PASS to properly operate and use your fire extinguisher safely:

1 — Pull the pin from the extinguisher

2 — Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire

3 — Squeeze the lever to release the spray

4 — Sweep the nozzle slowly side to side

Illustration of PASS 4-step process to correctly operate a fire extinguisher to put out a fire - pull, aim, squeeze and sweep

Watch the video below to see a demo of how to use the PASS technique with a fire extinguisher:


You light a candle and throw the match into the trash can. A moment later, you notice that some of the paper in the can has caught fire. Which of the following are NOT examples of what you should do next with your fire extinguisher?

Take Action

Five fire extinguishers on a wall. Photo by Jandira Sonnendeck on Unsplash

Time to prepare your home for fire emergencies! 

re you new to having your own place? Take fire safety precautions:


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