Fire Extinguishers

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Here some information on when and how to use a fire extinguisher as well as info on pre-planning what type and location for extinguishers. 

Bend Fire Department provides free fire extinguisher and fire safety education to both residents and businesses throughout our district. To schedule a class, please call our office at 541-322-6300.

When and How to use a fire extinguisher:

Things to do Before You Use Fire Extinguisher – Use the acronym R.A.C.E. to remember what to do prior to grabbing your fire extinguisher - 
  • R - Rescue – Ensure everyone is starting to evacuate the building or area of the fire. Smoke is the most dangerous part of a fire for humans and the quicker you get people away from the fire, the less chance of injury or death.
  • A - Alarm – Call 911 and activate the buildings fire alarm system if there is one. The sooner 911 is activated the sooner the fire department can arrive on scene. The fire department can ensure the fire is completely out and help if the extinguisher does not fully extinguish the fire. 
  • C - Confine – Again, smoke is the most hazardous part of the fire. Shut doors on your way out to limit the spread of smoke in the building
  • E - Exit or Extinguish – This is where you decide if you can safely use an extinguisher or you need to evacuate yourself. 
If the fire is too big or you don’t feel safe using the extinguisher, you have already started to evacuate the building, called 911 and attempted to confine the fire. Extinguish is last for a reason, the priority is to get people out of the building or home first. You could also ask for assistance in evacuating and calling 911 so you or someone else can use an extinguisher. 
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher – If you decide to use an extinguisher, use the acronym P.A.S.S. to remember how to use your fire extinguisher safely and effectively:
  • P - Pull – Pull the pin from the handle of the fire extinguisher, this pin keeps the handle from being accidentally squeezed
  • A - Aim – Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the base of the fire, closest to you.
  • S - Squeeze – Squeeze the handle to propel the extinguisher agent out at the fire. Continue squeezing until the extinguisher is fully used up
  • S - Sweep – Sweep the nozzle side to side to ensure you cover the entire fire
Things to do prior to a fire. How to plan on locations and types of extinguishers you need for your home or office. 
Placement of Fire Extinguishers - Fire Extinguishers must be:
  • Readily visible
  • Uniformly distributed (throughout structure)
  • Free from blockage by storage and equipment
  • Near normal ports of travel
  • Protected from potential accidental or malicious damage
  • An extinguisher weighing less than 40 lbs. should be installed with the top not more than 5ft. from the floor
Extinguishers Have Their Limits - A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. However, they are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions:
  • An extinguisher must be the right type (see below) for the fire
  • An extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. It must be readily available, in working order and fully charged
  • The operator must know how to use the extinguisher quickly
  • The operator must be strong enough to lift and operate the extinguisher
Your Extinguisher Must Fit the Fire – Here is the list of different types of fires that you may encounter. Most household fire extinguishers will extinguish A, B and C fires, making them a Multipurpose Fire Extinguisher.
  • TYPE A - Ordinary combustibles (wood, cloth, rubber, many plastics, etc.)
  • TYPE B - Flammable liquids (gasoline and other flammable liquids, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer and flammable gas)
  • TYPE C - Electrical equipment (energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery & appliances)
  • TYPE D - Metal fires
  • TYPE K - For use ONLY where cooking equipment involves the use of animal or vegetable oils
(Information provided in part courtesy of the Houston (TX) Fire Department© 2014)