Fire Extinguishers

Geneva firefighters train dozens of people every year in the proper use of fire extinguishers. The Geneva Fire Department offers classes in the proper use of fire extinguishers to businesses in the City of Geneva. To arrange a class for your business, contact the Fire Chief. Below are some tips for using a fire extinguisher properly. This site does not eliminate the need to take a class. Before fighting a fire:

  • Be sure you know how to operate your fire extinguisher and know the proper technique for fighting fires.
  • Be sure you have an unobstructed escape route should you fail to extinguish the fire.
  • Know what materials are burning, and be sure the extinguisher you are using is capable of fighting the fire. Consider the possible danger posed by hazardous or highly flammable materials near the fire area. It is reckless to fight a fire under any other circumstances. Instead, leave immediately, closing all doors leading to the fire area as you exit.

Remember the PASS-word

Keep your back to an exit and, depending on the size of your extinguisher, stand 10 to 20 feet away from the fire. Follow the four-step PASS procedure. If the fire does not begin to go out immediately, leave the area at once.

Warning: Portable fire extinguishers discharge faster than most people think - many within 15 to 30 seconds.

  • Pull the Pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
  • Aim Low: Point the extinguisher hose (or nozzle) at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the Lever: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. (See special operating instructions for cartridge-operated dry-chemical extinguishers.)
  • Sweep from Side to Side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire reignites, repeat the process. Always be sure the fire department inspects the fire site, even if you think you've extinguished the fire.