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Fire Extinguisher Safety Guidelines

All fires can be very dangerous and life-threatening.  Your safety should always be your primary concern when attempting to fight a fire. 

Thomas Jefferson University buildings are equipped with fire extinguishers should a fire emergency occur.  Employees, students, and visitors are not expected to utilize the extinguisher to fight fires due to the possibility of harming themselves.  However, a fire extinguisher can be used to clear a safe path to an exit of a building if you are trapped. 

The following information provides awareness about fire extinguishers types, how to use them, when to use them, the proper procedures to follow in the event of a fire as well as the care and maintenance of your extinguisher.

There are four (4) classes of fire extinguishers that are used at Jefferson. Extinguishers are labeled with standard letters and symbols for the classes of fires that they can put out.

Class A - Ordinary combustibles - fire extinguishers are filled with water or dry chemicals

Class B - Flammable liquids or gases - fire extinguishers are filled with carbon dioxide or dry chemicals

Class C - Electrical equipment - fire extinguishers are filled with dry chemical or carbon dioxide

Class K - Involve cooking oils used in commercial cooking equipment.

It is important to choose the correct extinguisher for the types of fires you anticipate. There are multi-purpose extinguishers with an ABC rating. These are good for multi-use however you should be aware that ABC-rated extinguishers can harm computers and other electronic equipment. Water extinguishers should not be used to extinguish electrical fires. It is best to research the types of extinguisher you may need with the environment you intend to use it for.

Here are the most common types of fire extinguishers:

Pressurized Water
2 1/2 Gallons
Range: 30-35 feet
To be used on Class A Fires (Wood, Paper, Trash, Linen, etc.)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
5 - 15 lbs.
Range: 4 - 6 feet
To be used on Class B Fires (Flammable Liquids) and on Class C Fires (Electrical)

NOTE: When using, do not grip or hold the nozzle.

Dry Chemical (ABC)
5 - 10 lbs.
Range: 12 - 20 feet
Can be used on Class A, B or C Fires

Extinguishers can be purchased from most hardware stores, through extinguisher companies (check the internet) or some department stores.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Remember P A S S

  • P - PULL the pin between the extinguishers handles
  • A – AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire. You should stand 6-10 feet away from the fire
  • S - Squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher
  • S - Sweep the nozzle from side to side across the base of the fire

Before Fighting a Fire be Sure:

  • You have followed R.A.C.E (Delete 911 has been called)
  • You have been trained to operate the extinguisher.
  • Delete 3rd bullet point about not designated
  • You have an unobstructed escape route in case you can’t put the fire out.
  • You know what’s burning and your extinguisher is right for the fire.
  • The fire is small