Whenever there’s a fire, a fire extinguisher is usually your first line of protection in order to prevent the spread of the fire itself. But you’d be surprised at some of the mistakes people make when using an extinguisher.

Here are three (3) mistakes to avoid when using a fire extinguisher to ensure you use it properly and keep yourself safe!

Standing too close to the fire.

Maintaining the proper distance between the extinguisher and the fire is one of the most important things you can do. If you’re too far away, the extinguisher’s stream will be too weak. If you stand too close, you can potentially burn yourself or even spread the fire.

More or less (and this depends on the size of the fire), FEMA recommends that you stand about eight feet away. It’ll give you both the right amount of power and won’t flatten out and widen the fire and cause it to spread.

Shooting too high

People frequently make the mistake of starting from the top of a fire and sweeping downwards. This isn’t what you want to do. Doing that never puts out the fire, instead it just causes the fire to burn more intensely.

The truth is – that it’s the base where the ‘fuel’ for the fire exists and that’s where you want to aim. Sweep along the base and you should find yourself having success. If you’re not, then the chances are that you’re in over your head and should leave for safety immediately.

Not pulling the pin

Pins exist for a reason on fire extinguishers, and that’s to prevent premature discharge. Always remember to pull the pin or you won’t be able to use your extinguisher in any, real capacity. Sometimes you’ll even run across what are called tamper ties, which is something companies like ours use to prevent discharge from extinguishers that’ve been used. When you find yourself having to use the extinguisher and you see the tamper tie, simply twist and pull the pin with generous force and you’ll be ready to go.

A lot of people think they can put out fires, but it’s important to always be proactive and constantly remind and re-train yourself on what to do in the worst case scenario. Hopefully these tips will help you use your fire extinguisher better and with a better eye for safety.