Autumn marks the beginning of structure fire season in the United States. Heaters and wood stoves are being used for the first time in months, and the holidays bring increased cooking, candle usage, and temporary light installations. When decorating for the holidays, avoid the temptation to overload electrical outlets. Follow all manufacturer recommendations and only use lighting approved by a nationally recognized testing agency.

Fire extinguishers are a critical tool for stopping small fires before they grow. These portable tools are designed only to fight incipient stage fires, which are the size of a small trash can. They are not designed for use on fires that are too hot or too bright to be looked at from 8 to 10 feet away. Larger fires require professional assistance; evacuate immediately and call 9-1-1.

When using a common ABC dry-chemical fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS:

P   Pull. Pull the pin to arm the fire extinguisher. Do not grasp the handles too tightly while removing the pin as it will make the pin harder to get out. When the pin is removed, the fire extinguisher is ready to use.

A   Aim. Aim the fire extinguisher toward the fire’s base, where the fuel and oxygen are interfacing most closely. Aim is critical. A typical 10-pound fire extinguisher will only last 15 to 18 seconds at full blast, so accuracy is key.

S   Squeeze. Slowly squeeze the handles together to initiate flow. Start gently so as to not interfere with your aim.

S   Sweep. Sweep the nozzle side to side, evenly applying chemical extinguishing agent to the fire’s base.

A fire that appears extinguished can sometimes reignite unexpectedly. Remain ready with the extinguisher in case the fire flares up again, and continue wetting the area with water to ensure the fire stays out.

Ensure you have a safe exit route if you choose to use an extinguisher. In the event the fire is blocking an exit, use the extinguisher to get yourself to safety. Property can be replaced, lives cannot.

Training is crucial for employees expected to use a fire extinguisher. RETTEW offers hands-on fire extinguisher training at your facility or our training center. Our safety experts can also assist with custom evacuation plans. Contact Kelly Kramer at 717.377.2374 to schedule a consultation.

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Safety training and consulting are only some of RETTEW’s 600+ services. Our safety team works hand in hand with engineers, scientists, project managers, and other technical experts at places such as manufacturing facilities, drill pads, and commercial construction sites. We are well respected in many industries and known for ensuring workers and equipment remain safe, which keeps your projects on track and your bottom line growing.