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Fire Extinguishers
Facts, Figures & General Information
Fire Extinguisher
When used properly, portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out small fires or containing them until the fire department arrives. Portable fire extinguishers for home us, however, are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. Even against small fires, they are useful only under certain conditions:
  • The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. During an emergency there is no time to read directions.
  • The extinguisher must be within easy reach, fully charged and in working order.
  • The operator must have a clear escape route that will not be block by fire.
  • The extinguisher must match the type of fire being fought. Extinguishers containing water are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.
  • The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire. Many portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as 8 to 10 seconds.

Choosing Your Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are tested by independent laboratories and labeled for the type and size of fire they can extinguish. Use these labels as a guide to purchase the kind of extinguisher that suits your needs.
  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth and paper.
    Geometric symbol - green triangle
  • Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil and oil-based pant.
    Geometric symbol - red square
  • Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers
    and appliances.
    Geometric symbol - blue circle

Remember to P*A*S*S
Keep your back to an unobstructed exit and stand six to eight feet away from the fire. Follow the four-step P*A*S*S procedure:
  • Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other lever-release mechanisms. Be familiar with your particular fire extinguisher!
  • Aim low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.
    Squeeze the lever: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. (Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)
  • Squeeze the lever:  This discharges the extinguishing agent.  Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.  (Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)
  • Sweep from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire reignites, repeat the process.
  • For more information, including extinguisher sizes, installation and maintenance, download JFPD’s brochure, “Portable Fire Extinguishers in Your Home.”

Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site, even if you think you've extinguished the fire.

NFPA, “Fire Extinguishers” information sheet

NFPA does not test, label or approve any products.

10416 Watterson Trail   |   Jeffersontown, KY 40299   |   Ph: (502) 267-8333   |   Fx: (502) 267-0547
10416 Watterson Trail   |   Jeffersontown, KY 40299   |   Ph: (502) 267-8333   |   Fx: (502) 267-0547