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Chief’s Corner: Fire extinguisher safety tips

NLTFPD Chief Mike Brown

NLTFPD Chief Mike Brown

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire district arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations.

Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the No. 1 priority for residents is to get out safely. Here are some safety tips:

• Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; 911 has been called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

• To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

• For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy that it’s difficult to handle.

• Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

• Read the instructions and become familiar with proper usage before a fire occurs.

• Install fire extinguisher close to an exit.

• Know when to go. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke detectors.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org.