Portable Fire Extinguishers

The proper use of portable fire extinguishers can extinguish many fires while they are still small.  You should be aware, however, that the Penn Hills No.7 VFC should be notified by dialing 911 as soon as possible.  Portable fire extinguishers are an important part of an overall fire prevention program.  It is important to keep in mind that the successful use of a portable fire extinguisher depends on the following:

  • The portable fire extinguishers are properly labeled, located, and in working order.
  • The portable fire extinguishers are the correct type for the item(s) on fire.
  • The fire is discovered while still small enough for use by a portable fire extinguisher to be effective, if the fire is too large for the portable fire extinguisher, evacuate all persons in the area, close the door behind you if at all possible and call 911.
  • That the fire is discovered by a person(s) who are ready, willing, and able to use the portable fire extinguisher.

Also, you should know that portable fire extinguishers are meant for immediate use on small fires.  They contain a limited amount of extinguishing material and need to be used properly so that this material is not wasted.

In some cases may require that an employer provide education to its employees on how to use a portable fire extinguisher that is located in the workplace.  Generally, operational instructions are provided on the side of the fire extinguisher.  The following is an example on how to use the “P.A.S.S.” method on extinguishing a fire with a portable fire extinguisher.


P.A.S.S:  Point Aim Squeeze and Sweep

Now you may be asking your self, what type of portable fire extinguisher should I use if I have something on fire in my home or place of business?  Here are the following types of portable fire extinguisher:


Class A: A fire extinguisher labeled with letter “A” is for use on Class A fires. Class A fires are fires that involve ordinary combustible materials such as cloth, wood, paper, rubber, and many plastics.

Class B:
A fire extinguisher labeled with letter “B” is for use on Class B fires. Class B fires are fires that involve flammable and combustible liquids such as gasoline, alcohol, diesel oil, oil-based paints, lacquers, etc., and flammable gases.

Class C: A fire extinguisher labeled with letter “C” is for use on Class C fires. Class C fires are fires that involve energized electrical equipment.


Class D: A fire extinguisher labeled with letter “D” is for use on Class D fires. Class D fires are fires that involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium and sodium.


Class K: A fire extinguisher labeled with letter “K” is for use on Class K fires. Class K fires are fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. This is for commercial kitchens, including those found in restaurants, cafeterias, and caterers.

Prevent Fires Caused by Cooking:

  • Always stay in the kitchen while cooking.
  • Keep things that can burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least three feet away from the range top.
  • Before cooking, roll up sleeves and use oven mitts. Loose-fitting clothes can touch a hot burner and catch on fire.
  • Never leave barbecue grills unattended while in use.
  • Keep grills at least three feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.

Prevent Fires Caused by Heating:

  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper.
  • Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Have a service person inspect chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves and central furnaces once a year. Have them cleaned when necessary.
  • Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace, and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace.

Prevent Fires Caused by Smoking:

  • Use “fire-safe” cigarettes and smoke outside.
  • Use large, deep ashtrays on sturdy surfaces like a table.
  • Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash.

Prevent Fires Caused by Candles:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended. Do not allow children to keep candles or incense in their rooms.
  • Blow out candles when adults leave the room.

Prevent Fires Caused by Gasoline and Other Products:

  • Store gasoline in a garage or shed in a container approved for gasoline storage.
  • Never bring or use gasoline indoors; and use it as a motor fuel only.
  • Close the lid on all dangerous products and put them away after using them.
  • Store them away from the home and in a safe place with a lock.
  • Don’t plug too many appliances into one outlet