So, you have a fire extinguisher installed, but do you know when, where and how to use it?

If not, you’re not alone. While most buildings will have a fire extinguisher, many occupants don’t know where it is located or don’t know how to use it. Many more would never consider there are multiple types of extinguishers, for use on multiple types of fire.

In this case, having a portable extinguisher becomes almost redundant if it can’t be located quickly or used correctly.

While Google might provide some general tips, it doesn’t allow you to get a practical understanding or hands-on experience with the equipment. This is where enrolling in a fire extinguisher course is beneficial.

Fire extinguisher training is a cost-effective and engaging way to ensure building occupants (particularly workplace staff) can effectively manage an emergency and put out a fire.

Where to Find Your Building Fire Extinguisher

In accordance with the regulations, each workplace and high-rise building is required to have a dedicated evacuation plan located in a conspicuous and easily accessible area, such as fire doors, lifts and stairwells.

This plan is a diagram that details the emergency exits, assembly points and where the emergency phone and fire protection equipment is located, such as fire hose reels, hydrants and extinguishers.

In an emergency, time is critical, so it’s always best to be familiar with the plan from the get-go so you can quickly and efficiently find firefighting equipment and evacuate.

Which Type of Portable Extinguisher to Use

If you need to put out a fire, it’s important you use the right fire extinguisher. The reason for this is that it can actually create more hazards and amplify the danger if you use the incorrect fire suppressant. For example, using a water extinguisher on an electrical fire means you’re at risk of electrocution.

Generally, the type of fire extinguisher in the building will be suited to putting out the most likely type of fire to occur. Dry Powder extinguishers are most often used for residential premises, while Wet Chemical extinguishers and fire blankets are often found in commercial kitchens.

You’ll be able to identify which ‘çlass’ or type of portable extinguisher it is and what kind of fire you can use it on based on the colour band of the canister. See the below diagram for reference.

Portable Fire Extinguisher types and applications.

It’s important to remember that not all fires can be managed with a fire extinguisher. If the fire is spreading quickly or uncontrollably, it’s crucial to evacuate and call emergency service; don’t try to fight it.

By undertaking a fire extinguisher course, building occupants will become familiar with what type of fire extinguisher to use and when, ultimately reducing response times, protecting property and saving lives.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Correctly 

While using fire extinguishers is pretty straightforward, it can be confusing and stressful when trying to work it out in an emergency.

By enrolling in a fire extinguisher course, participants will not only learn how to use a fire extinguisher, but get a feel for using the equipment under pressure with practical drills.

Better Fire Protection’s extinguisher training follows the PASS process; an easy to memorise 4 step process on how to use a fire extinguisher.

Pull (Pin)

Pull pin at the top of the extinguisher, breaking the seal. When in place, the pin keeps the handle from being pressed and accidentally operating the extinguisher. Immediately test the extinguisher. (Aiming away from the operator) This is to ensure the extinguisher works and also shows the operator how far the stream travels.


Approach the fire standing at a safe distance. Aim the nozzle or outlet towards the base of the fire.


Squeeze the handles together to discharge the extinguishing agent inside. To stop discharge, release the handles.


Sweep the nozzle from side to side as you approach the fire, directing the extinguishing agent at the base of the flames. After an A Class fire is extinguished, probe for smouldering hot spots that could reignite the fuel.

At Betta Fire Protection, we cater to businesses with dedicated workplace fire safety training for staff, so they know where, when and how to use a fire extinguisher correctly and safely in an emergency.

Contact us today on (02) 8669 9100 for a free quote or to book your group fire extinguisher training. Need your fire extinguisher tested or recharged? Explore our fire extinguisher services.