How to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency

The PASS method is a commonly used technique for operating a fire extinguisher effectively. It stands for: Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.


  1. Pull the pin: Start by pulling the pin or breaking the tamper seal located on the top of the fire extinguisher. This step is important as it allows you to discharge the extinguishing agent.

  2. Aim at the base of the fire: Point the nozzle or hose of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. It is crucial to aim at the source of the fire rather than the flames themselves. This helps to smother the fire and disrupt its fuel source.

  3. Squeeze the handle: Firmly squeeze the handle or lever of the fire extinguisher to start the discharge of the extinguishing agent. Maintain a steady grip and be prepared for some recoil as the pressure is released.

  4. Sweep from side to side: While discharging the extinguishing agent, use a sweeping motion from side to side, covering the base of the fire. This sweeping action helps to ensure that the extinguishing agent reaches all parts of the fire and prevents re-ignition.

It's is also important to note that different types of fire extinguishers may have different operating instructions. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the specific instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer for the fire extinguisher you have.

Remember, the PASS method is a general guideline, but the primary focus should always be on your personal safety. If the fire becomes too large, the environment becomes unsafe, or you are unsure about using the fire extinguisher, it is best to evacuate the area immediately and contact emergency services.

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