Introduction to this document

How to use a fire extinguisher

Our information sheet on how to use a fire extinguisher serves as a useful reminder on how to operate an extinguisher in a safe manner.

How to use our document

Most businesses will need to have a few members of staff trained in the use of fire extinguishers and this is best achieved by a proper hands-on course such as those provided by your local Fire and Rescue Service. But once you’ve had staff trained up they may never use their knowledge in anger. In fact, it may not be until the next training course that they consider the topic again.

Using an extinguisher incorrectly can be extremely dangerous and may lead to injury or loss of life. For example, if the wrong extinguisher is selected or the technique is poor, the fire may be spread around the room rather than being extinguished. In other cases the employee may be at risk from electric shock.

We’d therefore recommend that you use our information sheet to refresh the memory of your trained extinguisher users. For example, you could use it as a briefing paper after your regular fire drill.

What’s covered?

The information sheet includes general rules for the safe use of extinguishers and practical guidance on the sequence of checks and operations when using the extinguisher in practice.

It also lists the special considerations for different types of extinguisher:

  • water
  • dry powder
  • foam
  • carbon dioxide
  • wet chemical
  • fire blankets.

Where the extinguisher is likely to be used on more than one type of fire, the different requirements are also explained.