How to safely use a Fire Extinguisher or Fire Blanket

You should never try to tackle a large fire yourself, however a small fire can be tackled with a fire extinguisher or fire blanket. But – you should only do so if you know how to use them!
If you’re ever unsure if you should try to put out a small fire yourself – don’t! Make sure you get out of the building safely and dial your local fire brigade.
But if you have to try and put out a small fire yourself, here are a few tips of how to use a fire extinguisher or fire blanket safely.

Remember to PASS
Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Make sure you are using the right type of extinguisher for the fire
Water – wood, cloth, coal, plastics, paper, textile, and other solid materials.
Powder – solid materials, liquid, gas and electrical fires.
Foam – solid material and liquids.
CO2 – liquid and electrical fires
Wet chemical – cooking oils and fats.
If you want a guide for each type of fire extinguisher, you can find more information here

What about fire blankets?
Fire blankets are something you might find in the office kitchen, as they are more commonly used for chip pan fires or other cooking related fires. You can also use them for small paper fires and can be used as a body wrap for children and young adults to get them evacuated safely.
Fire blankets are much simpler to use than an extinguisher, however you should still take care and do not attempt to use it if the fire is too large or if you are unsure.
If you feel confident in using a fire blanket, follow these five simple steps –

• If it’s safe to do so, turn off the heat source if it is safe to do so, but do not attempt to move the container.
• Pull the tapes to release the fire blanket.
• Hold the blanket open in front of you, in a shield position, wrapping the fire blanket around your hands if you can.
• Place the blanket gently over the container in order to smother the fire
• Leave the container to cool and ensure it has cooled completely before attempting to move it.
As always, if the fire is too large to tackle yourself – either with a fire blanket or extinguisher, do not attempt to put it out yourself. Remember, your safety is paramount, and if the fire is at risk of getting out of control, evacuate the building and dial 999.

If you require some Fire Safety training, call David on 01582 668500 and check the dates of our next courses.