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  • Rob Haywood

Conquering the Flames: A UK Guide to Using Fire Extinguishers (HSE Approved!)

Updated: Jan 23

Conquering the Flames: A UK Guide to Using Fire Extinguishers (HSE Approved!)


Fire: a primal force that can bring warmth and comfort in a crackling fireplace, but also unleash devastating fury in a blink. In the UK, with our charming chimneys and cozy kitchens, it's crucial to be prepared for both scenarios. And that's where the mighty fire extinguisher steps in, a superhero in a metal canister ready to douse the flames and save the day. But knowing how to wield this hero effectively is key. So, ditch the panic and grab your metaphorical cape, because we're about to dive into a crash course on using a fire extinguisher, courtesy of the UK's fire safety experts, the HSE!



Fire extinguisher attached to a wall
Fire extinguisher attached to a wall


Step 1: Know Your Weapon

Fire extinguishers come in various types, each suited for different fire classes. In the UK, you'll likely encounter these three main types:


  • Water: The all-rounder, tackling paper, wood, and fabric fires. Think: kitchen mishaps and burning bookshelves.

  • Foam: Ideal for liquid fires like petrol or cooking oil. Picture sizzling chip pans and overflowing fuel cans.

  • CO2: Perfect for electrical fires involving equipment like computers or toasters. Sparks and circuits beware!

Always check the label on your extinguisher to identify its type and ensure it's suitable for the potential fire hazards in your surroundings.



Step 2: The 4-Step Formula to Firefighting Fame


Now, let's learn the PASHA method, your mantra for extinguisher mastery:


1. Pull the pin: This releases the pressure holding the extinguishing agent. Think of it as pulling the sword from its sheath.

2. Aim at the base of the fire: Don't be a flame-dodging dragon, target the source to cut off the fuel supply.

3. Squeeze the handle: Unleash the extinguishing agent like a magic potion, blanketing the flames.

4. Sweep sideways: Move the nozzle back and forth, ensuring all the fuel is covered and the fire extinguished. Don't let any rogue embers escape!


Remember: Safety first! Only attempt to tackle a fire if it's small and contained, and you have a clear escape route. If the fire is large, spreading rapidly, or you feel unsafe, evacuate immediately and call 999.


Bonus Tips for Extinguisher Extravaganza:

  • Regularly check your extinguisher's pressure gauge and service it according to the manufacturer's instructions. A rusty hero is no hero at all!

  • Practice using your extinguisher! Familiarity breeds confidence in an emergency.

  • Install extinguishers in strategic locations throughout your home and workplace, easily accessible in case of a fiery drama.

  • Remember the HSE's invaluable fire safety resources:

  • London Fire Brigade: https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/

  • Fire Safe UK: https://www.firesafeukltd.com/

  • National Fire Chiefs Council: https://nfcc.org.uk/

By wielding your fire extinguisher knowledge with confidence, you can transform from a bystander to a fire-conquering champion. So, let's keep our homes and workplaces safe from the clutches of flames, one extinguisher at a time! Remember, knowledge is power, and in the realm of fire safety, the power to protect yourself and others.


Shop for Fire Extinguisher signs at The Sign Shed.

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