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Where to Find Fire Extinguishers

Wherever possible, all campus extinguishers are either mounted in a cabinet or on a bracket and clearly labeled to make their location easy to identify.

Fire extinguishers can be found in the following locations:

  • Corridors of academic and office buildings and inside very large rooms.
  • In or immediately outside all laboratories where chemicals are stored and used.
  • In or immediately outside mechanical spaces where motorized or other equipment is present which might reasonably cause a fire.
  • In campus storage buildings and mounted inside certain university vehicles.

If you can't find the fire extinguisher in your area, or feel you need a different type/size of extinguisher for your work area or research, contact the EH&S at 305-348-2621 or


Identifying the Proper Fire Extinguisher

By rating

  • All ratings are shown on the extinguisher faceplate.
  • Some extinguishers are marked with multiple ratings such as AB, BC and ABC. These extinguishers are capable of putting out more than one class of fire.
  • Class A and B extinguishers carry a numerical rating that indicates how large a fire an experienced person can safely put out with that extinguisher.
  • Class C extinguishers have only a letter rating to indicate that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electrical current.
  • Class C extinguishers must also carry a Class A or B rating
  • Class D extinguishers carry only a letter rating indicating their effectiveness on certain amounts of specific metals.

Fire rating

  • Class A — Ordinary combustibles
  • Class B — Flammable liquids or gases
  • Class C — Electrical equipment
  • Class D — Flammable metals

By color

  • Solids (wood, paper, cloth, etc.) – red, yellow, blue
  • Flammable liquids – yellow, blue, black
  • Flammable gasses – blue
  • Electrical Equipment – blue, black
  • Cooking oils & fats – yellow, black

Extinguisher color

  • Red – water
  • Yellow – foam
  • Blue – dry powder
  • Black – carbon dioxide (CO2)

How to Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher

Remember the acronym P.A.S.S.

P - Pull the Pin.
A - Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.
S -  Squeeze trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.
S - Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, covering the area of the fire with the extinguishing agent.

See this short video to learn a little more about fire extinguishers:

When to Not Fight a Fire

You should only attempt to put out small fires yourself. No one is expected to contain a fire at risk to themselves. Don't fight the fire yourself if:

  • The fire is spreading beyond the spot where it started
  • You can't fight the fire with your back to an escape exit
  • The fire can block your only escape
  • You don't have adequate fire-fighting equipment
  • The extinguisher runs out of agent or does not work

Call for help and get yourself to safety.

Request Inspection or Report a Used Extinguisher

You must have extinguishers refilled after any use. Even if only a small amount of extinguishing agent is used, report when you use extinguishers. After any use, a BC or ABC extinguisher MUST be serviced and recharged.

While CO2 and halon extinguishers will generally hold their pressure after a slight discharge, BC and ABC rated DRY CHEMICAL extinguishers will usually not hold a charge after partial use. This is true for all your personal home and vehicle dry chemical extinguishers, too!

While the gauge may hold steady in the green immediately after a slight use, check it the next day and you'll find the gauge on EMPTY. This is because upon use the dry powder gets inside the seals and allows the nitrogen carrier to escape over a period of time.

You can't "test" an extinguisher and put it back in the cabinet!

If you want to try out an extinguisher and learn how it feels to use one, contact the Environmental Health & Safety and we will arrange for you to attend a fire extinguisher classes where you can actually put out a test fire!

Request a Refill or Inspection