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It is always better to fight a fire through prevention and early detection. However, with training and practice adults can use portable fire extinguishers to extinguish small contained fires. (Such as a cooking pan, wastebasket fire or campfire blaze.) This may minimize property damage and prevent needless injury.

Four Types of Fire Extinguishers

Class A Fires 

Class A

Materials such as wood, paper, cloth and rubber which are normally found around the home

Class B Fires

Class B

Flammable or combustible liquids, grease, oil-based paints, lacquers, some rubbers

Class C Fires

Class C

Energized electrical equipment and household appliances such as televisions, radios and stoves

Class D Fires

Class D

Combustible metals such as magnesium, sodium or potassium

When Should An Extinguisher NOT Be Used?

  • If you don't know how to use it
  • If you are breathing in smoke/gases
  • If the fire is larger than you

Note: A portable fire extinguisher is designed for a 'small' contained fire.

When Should An Extinguisher Be Used?

If you discover a fire, you can use a portable fire extinguisher if:

  • Everyone has left the fire area and is evacuating the building.
  • The fire department has been called.
  • The fire is confined to a small area.
  • A clear escape route exists between you and the fire.
  • There is an appropriate, working fire extinguisher available.
  • You have read the extinguisher instructions and received training in its safe operation.

Instructions for Use

  • Keep well back of the fire when using the extinguisher.
  • Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
  • Remove the pin or lever release mechanism, unlocking the operating lever.
  •  Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire. Hold the extinguisher vertically.
  • Squeeze the handle to fully release the contents of the extinguisher.
  • Move the nozzle from side to side in a sweeping motion at the base of the fire. Fight the fire closest to you and continue the sweeping motion until the fire is extinguished.

Other Safety Tips

  • Check the pressure gauge on the extinguisher each month to ensure the device is holding its charge
  • Refill or replace your fire extinguisher after each use. Rechargeable models should be serviced after every use and disposable extinguishers must be replaced.
  • Extinguishers must be recharged and serviced by authorized companies.

  • Extinguishers should be located in areas that contain potential fire hazards (kitchen, workshop, garage, basement).
  • In each area, place the extinguisher near the door so you can reach it easily, extinguish the fire and ensure a safe escape.

For More Information

Fire Prevention Office
10465 - 105 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 0P5

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm (Closed on weekends and statutory holidays)


780-496-3628 (voicemail only)


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