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Safety Tips

Basic fire fighting tips

All fires can be very dangerous and life-threatening. Your safety should always be your primary concern when attempting to fight a fire.


Before deciding to fight a fire, be certain that:

  • The fire is small and not spreading. A fire can double in size within two or three minutes.
  • You have the proper fire extinguisher(See The Know Your Extinguisher Section) for what is burning.
  • The fire won't block your exit if you can't control it. A good way to ensure this is to give you back to the exit at all time.
  • You know your fire extinguisher works. Inspect extinguishers regularly for dents, leaks or other signs of damage. Assure the pressure is at the recommended level. On extinguishers equipped with a gauge, the needle should be in the green zone - not too high and not too low, and service the same extinguisher once a year.
  • You know how to use your fire extinguisher(See The To Operate a Fire Extinguisher Section). There's not enough time to read instructions when a fire occurs.

How to Fight a Fire Safely:

  • Always stand with an exit at your back.
  • Stand some metres away from the fire, moving slowly closer once the fire starts to diminish.
  • Use a sweeping motion and aim at the base of the fire (See The How To Operate An Extinguisher Section).
  • If possible, use a "buddy system" to have someone back you up or call for help if something goes wrong.
  • Be sure to watch the area for a while to ensure it doesn't re-ignite.

Never Fight A Fire If:

  • The fire is spreading rapidly.Only use a fire extinguisher when the fire is in its early stages. If the fire is already spreading quickly, evacuate immediately and call the fire department - 112.
  • You don't know what is burning.Unless you know what is burning, you won't know what type of fire extinguisher to use. Even if you have an ABC extinguisher, there could be something that will explode or produce highly toxic smoke.
  • You don't have the proper fire extinguisher.The wrong type of fire extinguishercan be dangerous and/or life-threatening.
  • There is too much smoke or you are at risk of inhaling smoke.Seven out of ten fire-related deaths occur from breathing poisonous gasesproduced by the fire.


Any sort of fire will produce some amount of carbon monoxide, the most deadly gas produced by a fire. Materials such as wool, silk, nylon and some plastics can produce other highly toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, or hydrogen chloride. Beware - all of these can be fatal.


Smoke inhalation or exposure to fire itself can be life threatening so get educated about the basics in CPR and BURN TREATMENT.