PASS Technique

Using Fire Extinguishers – The PASS Technique

In the event of a fire emergency, having a well-thought-out plan and the right tools can make the difference between a manageable incident and a catastrophic disaster. Fire extinguishers are essential firefighting tools that can be the first line of defence when a small fire breaks out. However, knowing how to use a fire extinguisher correctly is crucial for effective fire suppression. One widely recognised method for using fire extinguishers is the PASS technique, an acronym that stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of the PASS technique to empower you with the knowledge and skills necessary to confidently handle fire extinguishers in emergency situations.

Understanding the PASS Technique


The first step in employing the PASS technique is to pull the pin on the fire extinguisher. This action is essential to unlocking the operating mechanism, allowing you to discharge the extinguishing agent. The pin is typically located at the top of the extinguisher, and pulling it out is a straightforward process.


After pulling the pin, the next step is to aim the nozzle or hose of the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. This is crucial because the extinguishing agent needs to make contact with the source of the flames to be effective. Always aim for the base of the fire rather than the flames themselves, as targeting the fuel source helps cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.


With the nozzle aimed at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle or lever to discharge the extinguishing agent. This action releases the pressurised contents of the extinguisher, allowing it to combat the fire. Maintaining a firm grip on the handle is important to ensure a continuous and controlled flow of the extinguishing agent.


The final step in the PASS technique is to sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side across the base of the fire. This sweeping motion helps cover a larger area and ensures that the extinguishing agent is distributed evenly, suppressing the flames effectively. Continue sweeping until the fire is completely extinguished.

Other Factors

PASS is only one small part of using fire extinguishers. It’s important to understand all aspects of using different types of fire extinguishers. There are also many other factors that contribute to properly using a fire extinguisher.

Choosing the Right Type of Fire Extinguisher

While the PASS technique is a universal approach, it’s important to use the right type of fire extinguisher for the specific class of fire. There are different classes of fires (Class A, B, C, D, Electrical and F), each requiring a specific type of extinguishing agent. To learn more about different classes of fire CLICK HERE. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the classes and choose the appropriate fire extinguisher for the situation.

Training and Familiarisation

Mastering the PASS technique requires practice and familiarity with the specific fire extinguisher you have on hand. Consider participating in fire safety training programs that simulate real-life scenarios, allowing you to hone your skills in a controlled environment. Familiarise yourself with the location of fire extinguishers in your workplace or home, ensuring quick and easy access during an emergency.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Fire extinguishers should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure their functionality. Check the pressure gauge, inspect the nozzle and hose for damage, and make sure the pin is intact. If you notice any issues, report them immediately and replace or recharge the extinguisher as necessary.


The PASS technique is a fundamental method for using fire extinguishers effectively and safely. By understanding and practising these steps, you can play a crucial role in preventing the escalation of small fires and protecting lives and property. Remember that fire safety is a collective responsibility, and being prepared with the right knowledge and tools can make a significant difference in emergency situations. Stay informed, stay safe, and empower yourself to be a proactive participant in fire safety measures.