Fires can be very dangerous and you should always make certain to not endanger yourself or others when attempting to put out a fire.  For this reason, when a fire is discovered:

  • Assist any person, who is in any immediate danger to safety, if it can be accomplished without risk to you.
  • Activate the building fire alarm system or notify the fire department by dialing 911.  When you activate the building fire alarm system, it will automatically notify the fire department and get help on the way. It will also sound the building fire alarm system to notify other occupants, and it will shut down the air-handling units to prevent the spread of smoke throughout the building.
  • Only after doing the above two, you may use an extinguisher, if the fire is small.

However, before deciding to fight the fire, keep these rules in mind:


  • You do not know what is burning.

If you do not know what is burning, you do not know what type of fire extinguisher to use.  Even if you have an ABC extinguisher, there may be something in the fire, which could cause it to explode or produce toxic smoke.  Chances are, you know what is burning, or at least have a pretty good idea, but if you do not know, let the fire department handle it.

  • The fire is spreading rapidly beyond the spot where it is started. 

The time to use the fire extinguisher is in the recipient, or beginning stages of the fire.  If the fire is spreading quickly, it is best to simply evacuate the building, closing windows and doors as you leave.

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