Community Development, MS-36  
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Phone:(360) 337-5777 * Fax:(360) 337-4925
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Community Development > Fire Marshal >

Fire Extinguishers:
When and How to Use Them

Extinguishers are a first line of defense
When used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the Fire Department arrives.

Extinguishers have their limits
Portable extinguishers, however, are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful under only the right conditions:


The extinguisher must be rated for the type of fire at hand.


The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire.  Most portable extinguishers discharge their extinguishing agents in as little as eight seconds.


The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, ready for use and fully charged.


You must know how to use the extinguisher.  There is no time to read directions during an emergency.


The operator must be strong enough to lift and operate the extinguisher.

Buy extinguishers carefully
A fire extinguisher must bear the seal of an independent testing laboratory. It should also be labeled as to the type of fire it is intended to extinguish. There are three basic classifications of portable fire extinguishers.
Classification of Fires and Size of Extinguishers Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers
Operation of Fire Extinguishers Should you fight the fire?

Last Updated:  September 23, 2014
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