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How to Use a Water Fire Extinguisher

Traditional water fire extinguishers are suitable for use on class A fires involving solid combustible materials such as wood, paper and textiles. Please note that modern water mist extinguishers with de-ionised water can also be used on B, C and electric fires.

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. If you tackle the fire make sure you stay at a safe distance and follow the instructions below.

  1. For plain water extinguishers: check that there is no live electrical equipment in the area
  2. Pull the safety pin (Fig.3), this will break the tamper seal.
  3. Squeeze the lever to start discharging the extinguisher.
  4. Aiming the extinguisher nozzle:
    • Fires spreading horizontally: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, moving the jet across the area of the fire
    • Fire spreading vertically: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, slowly moving the jet upwards following the direction of the fire
  5. As the fire starts to diminish carefully move closer to it
  6. Ensure all the fire has been extinguished, try to focus on any hot spots that may re-ignite


Reviewed: 20/12/2019 (doc:16 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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