Portable extinguishers shall be maintained in a fully charged and operable condition and kept in designated places at all times when not in use.
An extinguisher should be mounted and located so it can be easily removed in a fire emergency and brought to the site of the fire as fast as possible. It should be readily accessible without need for moving or climbing over stock, materials, or equipment. Once the extinguisher has been transported to the fire site, it must be placed into operation without delay. Previous training in the operation of an extinguisher is invaluable, as there is little time to read operating instructions in the event of a fire. To actuate an extinguisher, one or more of the following steps are required:
- Position for operation...the intended position for operation is usually marked on the extinguisher.
- Removal of restringing or locking devices, such as lock, pin, ring pin, or clips.
- Start of discharge...squeezing of valve handle or pushing a lever or pumping.
- Agent application...this involves direction of stream of extinguishing agent onto the fire.
- On all fires, the discharge should be directed at the base of the flame. The discharge should be applied to the burned surface even after the flames are extinguished.
- In using extinguishers in unventilated places such as small rooms, closets, or confined spaces, operators and others should avoid breathing the extinguishing agent, gases, and smoke.
- Distinctive letters, shapes, and colors help to mark extinguishers according to the class of the fire on which they should be used.