Though we all hope to never have to tackle a fire, having the know-how to competently tackle such an outbreak can be the literal difference between life and death. Crucially, you and your employees should be aware of the correct procedures to follow in the event of a fire to ensure that you and everyone else remains safe.

A simple way to accurately recall how to tackle a small fire is to follow the fire extinguisher PASS system.This guide will ensure that you and your colleagues will be able to correctly and confidently operate a fire extinguisher.

PASS – What Is It?

The PASS acronym stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep. Each section of the PASS acronym is a separate stage of tackling a fire with an extinguisher. Though there are very few words, they each provide enough information to help you correctly use a fire extinguisher.

A simple to remember acronym can help in situations where emergency and panic are the likely emotions and operating impulses: the ability to recall PASS, even in the most emotionally-charged situations can help save your life, as well as the lives of others.

Should a fire break out, the priority should be to sound the nearest fire alarm and contact the relevant emergency services. Whilst you wait for the fire department, if the fire is small enough, you may wish to tackle it yourself with a fire extinguisher.

PASS – The Four Steps

  1. Pull – Pull the pin. You will notice that there is a pin installed near to the trigger of a fire extinguisher – pull this out.
  2. Aim – Carefully aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher low, towards the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze – Once your aim is secured, squeeze the trigger – slowly, evenly and methodically.
  4. Sweep – Ensuring you are still a safe distance away from the fire, continue aiming at the base of the fire and slowly sweep back and forth. This swaying motion will ensure the optimal amount of extinguishing material covers as much of the fire as possible.

Remember, just because a fire looks like it has been expunged does not mean that it cannot reignite. If the fire does find its second life and begin raging more than before, you should exit the premises immediately to allow the fire department to fire the remaining outbreak.

Safety Precautions

Never jump in, head first, to tackle a fire. Before you grab a fire extinguisher, you must quickly assess the situation and the size of the fire at large: if the fire looks too big and unpredictable – it most likely is. Do not risk your life, or the lives of others, trying to be a hero. Instead, you should ensure your safety first, then contact the fire department via 999.

Should the fire be small enough to tackle with a fire extinguisher, remember the PASS system.

Workplace Familiarity

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the fire emergency evacuation plan (FEEP) of your workplace, its exits, stairwells, windows and fire extinguishers (including type). Fire extinguishers should be stored on every floor of the building, usually by common exits and rooms susceptible to fires, such as IT departments, kitchens, canteens and server rooms.

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