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How to Use a Powder Fire Extinguisher

Powder fire extinguishers are suitable for use on class A, class B and class C fires but are used in different ways depending on the type of fire they are being used on.

Only tackle small fires with an extinguisher. If the fire has taken hold do not fight the fire but evacuate immediately and warn others of the fire, then call the fire and rescue service. Please be aware that the powder from the extinguisher spreads and might be inhaled. It can also reduce visibility. Do therefore only use with caution in enclosed spaces. If you tackle the fire make sure you stay at a safe distance and follow the instructions below.

  1. Pull the safety pin (Fig.3), this will break the tamper seal. Squeeze the lever to start discharging the extinguisher.
  2. Aiming the extinguisher:
    • Solid Materials: Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames, moving across the area of the fire
    • Spilled liquids: Aim the nozzle at the near edge of the fire and with a rapid sweeping motion, drive the fire towards the far edge until all the flames have been extinguished
    • Flowing liquid:Direct the nozzle at the base of the flames and sweep upwards until all the flames have been extinguished
    • Burning gas: Switch off the gas supply as soon as you can! Aim the powder at the flare to extinguish
    • Electrical equipment: Switch off the power (if safe to do so) and then direct the nozzle straight at the fire
  3. Once the fire is extinguished, carefully scan for re-ignition, as this is possible when a powder fire extinguisher has been used


Reviewed: 20/12/2019 (doc:19 V2.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.


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