How do I operate an extinguisher?
The easiest way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is to think of the P.A.S.S technique.
- Pull the pin
- Aim nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side
Training at work
If you are an employer, you have a responsibility under the Safety, Health and Wefare Act (2005) to provide adequate training for equipment in the workplace.
How long will an extinguisher last when I use it?
Discharge times for various unit sizes range from eight to 40 seconds.
Portable Fire Extinguishers must always be refilled or replaced after use – even partial use.
Ongoing checks and maintenance
As an owner or person in control of a premises (under the Irish Standards 291, which governs the use, siting, inspection and maintenance of extinguishers) you are required to have portable fire extinguishers inspected annually by a competent person and more often, if required, due to environment/other factors.
In addition, the standard recommends monthly user checks.
What are these monthly checks that I should carry out?
Confirm that all extinguishers are in their assigned location and have not become obstructed or hidden
- Ensure pins and seals are intact
- Check there is no visual evidence of damage, leakage, rust, corrosion or misuse
- Check that gauges, if fitted, are in the green
- Ensure nozzles are free of blockage
Test Discharge & Refilling Requirements under IS 291
Foam & Water – every three years
CO2 & Powder – every five years
Best practice – 1/3 and 1/5 every year, which equalises cost and provides scope for training