Home Safety Fire Extinguisher Use

When should I use a fire extinguisher?

  • Have I alerted others in the building that there’s a fire?
  • Has someone called the fire department?
  • Am I physically able to use a fire extinguisher?
  • Is the fire small and contained in a single object (like a pan or a wastebasket)?
  • Am I safe from the fire’s toxic smoke?
  • Do I have a clear escape route?

Use a fire extinguisher when all of these questions are answered “yes.” If you’re unsure about whether or not it’s safe to use a fire extinguisher, and for all other situations, alert others, leave the building, and call 911 from a mobile or neighbor’s phone. It is not recommended that children use fire extinguishers.

PROPER use of the CORRECT type of fire extinguisher

Maintenance on your fire extinguisher is just as important as knowing how to properly use one.

  • Easy access in an emergency – Be sure nothing is blocking or limiting your ability to reach it.
  • The recommended pressure level – Many extinguishers have gauges that show when pressure is too high or too low.
  • Working parts – Make sure the can, hoses and nozzles aren’t damaged, dented, or rusted.
  • Cleanliness – Remove any dust, oil, or grease that might be on the outside of the extinguisher.
  • Guidelines and instructions – Some extinguishers need to be shaken monthly, others need to be pressure tested every few years.


The above information was gathered from the FEMA website.