A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. However, it is important to follow these steps in order:

  1. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
  2. Sound the alarm (know where the alarm boxes are in your area)
  3. Initialize the Emergency Response Plan (Review the ERP for your building with your supervisor)
  4. Leave the building if the fire is not small and contained, or if heavy smoke is present.
    • Use the Fire Extinguisher to exit if necessary

Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority is to GET OUT SAFELY!

Safety Tips

  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.
  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area by following the instructions above, and is not growing, such as a wastebasket.
  • Know where the extinguishers are located. The extinguishers must be mounted in a designated location, well marked and easy to access.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher - remember the word PASS:

pass acronym diagram

  1. Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  2. Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  4. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device. A clear exit enables an easy escape,especially if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is a safe escape. All MSU facilities have an emergency response plan. Please check with your supervisor to learn about yours. In addition, MSU provides an Emergency Management Policy ensuring that the University is prepared for, can effectively respond to and ultimately recover from an emergency.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Needed?

  • Different types of fires require different types of extinguishers. For instance, an electrical fire and a grease fire require the use of different extinguishing agents to be effective and safely put out the fire.
  • As shown below, there are three predominant types of extinguishing agents. Most fire extinguishers display symbols showing the kind of fire which they are to be used.

ABC's of fire safety

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire Extinguishers Need to be Regularly Checked to Ensure That:

  • The extinguisher is not blocked by anything that might limit its access in an emergency and is installed in plain view near an escape route.
  • The pressure is at the recommended level. Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use.
  • The exterior of the fire extinguisher is clean. Remove any grease or oil that accumulates on the extinguisher. Ensure hoses and nozzles are free of debris and there are no signs of damage or abuse.

Lauri Skip working a fire extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Training