Using A Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Safety tips

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word 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.
  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape 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 safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

Portable Fire Extinguishers and Children

NFPA believes that children should not be trained how to operate portable fire extinguishers. Teaching children to use portable fire extinguishers runs counter to NFPA messaging to get out and stay out if there is a fire. Furthermore, children may not have the maturity to operate a portable fire extinguisher properly or decide whether or not a fire is small enough to be put out by the extinguisher. They may not have the physical ability to handle the extinguisher or dexterity to perform the complex actions required to put out a fire. In the process of extinguishing flames, children may not know how to respond if the fire spreads. NFPA continues to believe that only adults who know how to operate portable fire extinguishers should use them.


Information from

Home Fire Drills

Why Do I Need a Home Fire Drill?

Close to 50% of people who die in home fires were trying to escape when they died.

A developed exit plan, and practice of a home fire drill, might have saved their lives.

Here is what it is like to be in a fire.

  • “You can’t see anything in front of you.”
  • “You can t breathe.”
  • “It’s hot. It s dark. It s hostile.”
  • “You don t know what to expect.”
  • “You have to go by feel.”
  • “A 15-foot hallway seems 50 miles long.”
  • “You can easily become unraveled.”
  • “It’s not a place where humans are ever expected to go.”

Make an Escape Plan

It is important to have a plan when there are children in your home. Children sometimes need help getting out of the house. They may not know how to escape or what to do unless an adult shows them.

Have a plan for young children who cannot get outside by themselves. You will need to wake babies and very young children and help them get out. In your plan, talk about who will help each child get out safely.

It is important to learn two ways out of every room in your home, in case one exit is blocked or dangerous to use.

Remember, if there is smoke, you need to get low and go to your exits. So practice getting low and moving to your exits.

Choose a safe meeting place a safe distance from your home. Children should know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Help them practice going to the outside meeting place. Teach them to never go back inside a building that is on fire.

Have a home fire drill at least twice a year. So everyone can practice what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.

Children and Fire Safety

Children can become scared and confused during emergencies, so teach them to never hide from firefighters.

Teach children to NEVER go back inside a burning building. Once they are out, stay out!

Teach your child to get low and crawl on the ground, where the air is less smoky.

Show a child how to use the back of his hand to check doors for heat before opening and to use a different way out, if the door is hot.
If your child needs to use an escape ladder, show him/her where you keep it and practice how to use it.

Help Me Plan My Home Fire Drill

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Everyone in your household should take part in planning your escape. Fires can start anywhere in the home and at any time, so run through the plan at different times of the day or night, and practice different ways out.
  • Think about how you will escape from every room, starting with bedrooms.
  • If possible, plan two escape routes from each room. Your second route may be to go out a window or stand at a window where firefighters can see you.
  • Decide where you will meet outside. Explain to your kids that when the smoke alarm beeps, they need to get out of the house quickly and meet at that safety spot.
  • Plan everyone s role. Who will make sure children get out? Plan for special needs. Do you have: Young children? Older adults? People with temporary or permanent disabilities? Do you ever have overnight guests?
  • Share your plan with babysitters and frequent visitors.
  • Keep your floors, hallways and stairs clear of clutter.
  • Fire extinguishers require planning too.
  • Practice your home fire drill. Have kids head to their bedrooms and wait for the drill to begin. For children under 6 years old, assign adults to help anyone who’ll need it. Put one adult in charge of sounding the smoke alarm and running the drill. Next, sound the smoke alarm, start the timer and have everyone book it to the safety spot. Once everyone gets to the safe meeting place stop the timer. If you all made it in under two minutes, you each get an imaginary gold medal. If not, give it another try. In a real fire, get to the safe meeting place, then call 911 and keep everyone close until firefighters arrive.

Help me Practice My Home Fire Drill

  • At least twice a year, push the smoke alarm button to start your home fire drill.
  • Get out fast.
  • Practice escaping from bedrooms when people are asleep.
  • Make sure everyone in your household can open all doors and windows. Security bars on windows should have emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside.
  • Go to your meeting place.
  • In a real fire, get out and stay out.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside.

What You Need To Know About Smoke Alarms

  • Know what types of smoke alarms are available for your needs.
  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your house, especially outside bedrooms.
  • Test your smoke alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.

Make a Home Escape Plan in Case of Fire

Did you know 50% of homeowners in the U.S. don’t have an emergency escape plan? In the event of a home safety emergency, every second counts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you may have less than two minutes to escape after your smoke alarms sound. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by planning and practicing an escape route with the entire family for safe evacuation. By planning, practicing, and repeating your emergency escape plan, you can help ensure a safe escape.

Make an Emergency Escape Plan (Download a Plan Sheet Now)

Walk through your home with your family and identify multiple exits out of each room in the house. If windows or doors are blocked, clear them so they can be easily accessed and opened to exit through. It is recommended that you have 2 exit routes from every room in your house. For two-story houses, consider equipping bedrooms with escape ladders to provide additional, safe evacuation routes. When escaping from a business building, employees should follow the escape plan procedures put in place by that business.

Dedicate someone to assists pets, small children, infants, elderly, or those with disabilities out of the home.
Assign a meeting spot outside that is a safe distance away from your house like the mailbox, tree, or neighbor’s house. It is important that everyone in the household knows where to meet once they get out of the house.
Ensure your street address is clearly visible on your home or mailbox for emergency first responders.
If you have children, teach them how to call 9-1-1 once outside at your meeting spot and help them memorize your home address

Practice Your Emergency Escape Plan

Once you have your emergency escape plan, it’s time to practice the evacuation route. The NFPA recommends executing your emergency escape plan twice a year, as well as at night. It is a good idea to draw a map of your home and plot multiple exits out of every room, so everyone knows the evacuation plan. Knowing you have a safety plan in place in the event of an emergency will not only give you peace of mind but confidence that your family is prepared. To get started, download our home escape plan worksheet.

If the Smoke Alarms Sound:

Smoke alarms are just as important as your emergency escape route because they alert your family of potential danger. Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas, and on each level. Be sure to test them monthly and replace the batteries every six months, or for hassle-free protection, upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms to eliminate the need for battery replacements. Remember, you may have less than minutes to escape so plan, practice and repeat your escape route to help protect what matters most.

  • Follow your family’s escape plan.
  • Get low and crawl under the smoke.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the fire from spreading.
  • Once everyone is out, stay out! You should never return to a burning building. Please leave this to the firefighters and inform them if someone is missing.
  • Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.

Other Preventative Safety Measures

Take these preventative safety measures into consideration to help reduce your risk of fire

  • Make sure all kitchen appliances are in proper working order and are unplugged when not in use.
  • While you are cooking, never leave the stovetop or oven unattended. A skillet or pot could easily overrun and catch fire.
  • Ensure there is nothing surrounding the stove while it is in use, like dishtowels or food scraps, as they are potential fire hazards.
  • Never leave lit candles or fireplaces unattended. It is important to be present near an open flame
  • Regularly have all vents and furnaces checked to help ensure your home is operating as safely as possible.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Read the directions to be sure you know how to use it and regularly check its expiration so, in the event of a small fire, you have a working fire extinguisher and know how to use it.


*First Alert Consumer Target Identification and Segmentation Report, Insights in Marketing, June 2016

Source: National Fire Protection Association 


Smoke & Carbon Monoxide – Early Detection Matters

Fire Safety – Why Early Detection Matters

Did You Know?

Fire Prevention Week is the perfect time to talk with your whole family about fire safety – include testing alarms, changing the batteries or upgrading to 10-year sealed battery alarms, how to use a fire extinguisher, and escape route planning.

*  3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms

*  Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan

*  Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental death

*  60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly*

*  Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their home

*  Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan*

*  Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of home fires

Are You Ready at Home?

Having functioning alarms installed throughout your home is the first line of defense for fire prevention. They work around the clock to provide your family with an early alert in the event of an emergency, providing you time to safely escape. Smoke and CO alarms should be placed on every level of the home, including the basement, as well as inside and outside each bedroom. Fire extinguishers should also be placed on every level of the home, especially in the kitchen and garage.

Why Early Detection Matters

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are your family’s first line of defense when it comes to a fire or CO emergency. Having properly working alarms can help provide you and your family with an early alert, giving you time to safely escape.

Early Detection for Your Home

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms provide early warning in the event of an emergency.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms are the only way to detect CO in your home and provide early warning to this deadly gas.

Placement and Maintenance

Just having smoke and CO alarms is not enough. You also need to ensure they are properly placed throughout your home and functioning correctly. Smoke and CO alarms should be placed on every level of your home, including the basement, as well as inside and outside each sleeping area. Be sure to test your alarms regularly and replace the batteries every six months, unless you 10-year sealed battery alarms. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and CO alarms should be replaced every 5 to 7 years.

Smoke and CO alarms work around the clock, day and night, to alert you and your family to a fire or CO emergency. Help protect what matters most by installing early detection in your home.

Having alarms is the first step to protecting your family, the next is to create an emergency escape plan to help your family safely escape. Download an escape planning worksheet to help teach your children!

Source: National Fire Protection Association