The PASS System for extinguishing fires

When you feel it is safe to do so, and you feel there is a chance of stopping a small fire, you are encouraged to tackle them with a fire extinguisher. There are a whole host of different fire extinguishers which can be used to tackle specific types of fires, and while it is important to select the right one, knowing how to use an extinguisher correctly is also vital.

With this in mind, this month we’d like to highlight the PASS System to help you remember that the main stages of the process. By following this system you could help to prevent small fires turning into something much worse.

The PASS SystemPASS System

Since acronyms are easier to recall, most people refer to the correct operation of an extinguisher as the PASS System. Here is a breakdown of the stages:

P – Pull the pin – The first thing you need to do is pull the pin on the extinguisher you have chosen. This will then allow you to activate the extinguisher, releasing the locking mechanism.

A – Aim – Now the pin has released the locking mechanism, you should aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the bottom of the fire – not at the flames. By targeting the base you are tackling the fuel source of the fire and putting the extinguishing effect in the right place.

S – Squeeze the level – You’ve got your aim and the extinguisher is unlocked, now you simply need to squeeze the lever to begin releasing the extinguishing agent. There is a limited amount of the agent inside every extinguisher, so use it wisely and squeeze only to get a controlled amount.

S – Sweep – You should be a good distance away from the fire itself when using the extinguisher. Keep aiming at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth to cover as much of the base of the fire as possible. If the fire begins to recede, adjust your position and continue to spray as long as the extinguisher allows.

It’s possible that once you have put the fire out, it finds a way to reignite. To avoid this, we suggest staying close by for a short period in order to monitor the remains of the fire, ready to tackle the flames should they try to take hold again.

It should go without saying that, should the fire roar back to life in an aggressive manner, you should leave immediately and let the emergency services tackle the fire. Never take on extinguishing a fire unless you are certain you can handle it.