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The PASS Fire Extinguisher Method

Man using Fire Extinguisher



What Does PASS Stand For?


PASS is an acronym that stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep It is used to help people remember how to correctly use a fire extinguisher. It highlights the four main steps that you need to take when the use of a fire extinguisher is required.


This is an integral part of fire safety training and ensures employees are able to react quickly and feel more confident whenever they have to use a fire extinguisher to deal with a fire effectively. Some fire extinguishers may require additional techniques, but they will all use this PASS technique to ensure they work properly in the event of a fire.

Fires are able to destroy a building in minutes and a fire extinguisher is often the most effective piece of equipment that can be used to stop the fire in its tracks.

Increase in Number of Fire Extinguishers Used

The number of fire extinguishers that have been used to stop fires in the UK has risen from 80% in 2003 up to 93% in 2021.

Fire Safety Regulations

As stated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005, fire safety equipment is a legal requirement in workplaces and employees must receive appropriate fire training to ensure everyone is kept safe in the case of a fire.


PASS Method in Fire Safety

The 4 Steps of using a Fire Extinguisher:


The PASS method clearly describes the 4 steps that you should take when using a fire extinguisher. Here are the PASS instructions in more detail:

1. Pull

The first step is to Pull out the safety pin which allows the handle to be pressed. The safety pin is put into place to prevent the fire extinguisher from being discharged accidentally and the pin should only ever be removed in the event of a fire. Once the pin is removed, the handle can be pressed and this will then allow you to discharge the fire extinguisher.


2. Aim

The second step states that you must Aim the spray of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. If you aim it at the flames on top of the fire, this will just fly over the top and not do anything. You must spray the base of the fire which is where the fuel of the fire is located to effectively prevent the spread of the fire and to help extinguish it by suffocating the fuel source.


3. Squeeze

The third step requires you to Squeeze the trigger on the fire extinguisher handle slowly and firmly and hold it steady as the contents spray out of the nozzle. Keep a strong hold on the fire extinguisher and continue spraying the base of the fire until the contents have been completely emptied.


4. Sweep

The fourth step requires you to Sweep the fire extinguisher from side to side while you are still squeezing the trigger to ensure the entire base of the fire is completely covered. Continue sweeping the area until the fire extinguisher is completely empty which will effectively cover the area and prevent the fire from reigniting.


Once you have learnt these four simple steps, you will be able to confidently and safely use a fire extinguisher to put out small fires in the workplace if and when it is ever required.


Fire Extinguisher

What is the PASS method in Fire Safety?


Many people think that it is easy to use a fire extinguisher by simply pointing and spraying it at the fire but it is vital that the correct technique is used. The PASS method ensures that fully trained and competent employees are able to use the fire extinguisher correctly and safely to target and control the fire and prevent it from spreading even further.

Employers should choose one or more employees to be the designated fire marshal or fire warden for each floor of the building.

The 6 Types of Fire Extinguisher

The six types of fire extinguishers in the UK are Water (red), Foam (cream), Dry Powder (blue), Carbon Dioxide (black), Wet Chemical (yellow), and Water Mist (white and red). Each type is suited to different classes of fires, such as solid combustibles, flammable liquids, gases, cooking oils, and electrical fires.

Fire risk Assessment

A fire risk assessment must be performed to determine which class of fire is most likely to occur depending on the fuel source and the appropriate fire extinguisher must be readily available.

These are the types of fire extinguisher which must be used for each fire class:

Class A – Solid Materials

Water, Foam, Powder or Wet Chemical

Class B – Flammable Liquids

Carbon Dioxide, Foam or Powder

Class C – Flammable Gas


Class D – Flammable Metals


Class E – Electrical

Carbon Dioxide or Powder

Class F – Cooking Fats & Oils

Wet Chemical


A water fire extinguisher must never be used for an electrical fire as it is a conductor, nor should it be used for a Class F fire as it will feed the fire further.

The PASS method can be used for all types of fire extinguishers and it helps keep employees calm in a situation that requires precision and speed.


Risk Assessment on Fire Extinguishers

The Importance of PASS in the Workplace


It is extremely important that the PASS method is a part of the fire safety training in the workplace to ensure employees know how to correctly extinguish a fire in the case of an emergency. Employers have a duty of care as stated by the HSE to ensure all employees are always safe in the workplace.

This also means that employees are provided with the appropriate training and safety equipment as well as have regular risk assessments performed to maintain a safe working environment.

The fire safety training should not only cover how to use fire extinguishers and the PASS method, but should also teach employees how to use other fire safety equipment, what to do in cases of fire emergencies and how to safely escape the buildings.

You should not try to operate a fire extinguisher or other fire safety equipment if you have not received the appropriate training. There should always be at least 1 employee that is named as the workplace fire marshal who is fully trained in situations that involve fire.

The PASS method is an essential part of fire training which is used to effectively prevent the spread of fire and extinguish the fire in a safe and efficient manner.




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