Congratulations! You have working fire extinguishers available in your building. You’ve had a member of Jim’s Test & Tag complete your fire extinguisher servicing requirements and your equipment has been verified as safe to use.

If this doesn’t sound like you, go and get your extinguishers tested and make sure you have the right equipment installed in your building. There’s no reason to sacrifice safety in the workplace. You’ll keep your staff safe and your organisation compliant.

If this does sound like you, and you have everything in working order, the next step is to make sure your team members and guests know how to use a fire extinguisher.

Follow this simple operation guide and invest in further fire safe training for your staff.


To use a fire extinguisher safely, follow the PASS system. This handy acronym will help you remember the safest way to approach an open flame. Please remember that these steps are only a guide and you should always complete a risk assessment before attempting to extinguish a flame.

The first rule of fire safety is knowing when to evacuate. Fire extinguishers are appropriate for use during the very early stages of a fire. If the flame is growing or becoming larger, exit the area as fast as you can and call the emergency services on 111.

After you have assessed the situation, you can approach the fire from a safe distance with your portable fire extinguisher in hand.


Pull the pin out of the top of the extinguisher. It might be easier if you rest the device on the ground or hold it at the base while you extract the pin.

Before moving onto the next step, test the extinguisher by pointing the nozzle away from your body and squeezing the lever slowly. This will help you get an idea of how far you can stand away from the flame.

Testing the extinguisher before approaching the fire will save precious time in the case that the device is damaged for some reason. You don’t want to get close to a flame and then find that your extinguisher isn’t working. This can be avoided with regular fire extinguisher maintenance.


Aim the nozzle at the base of the flame. Make sure you do this from a safe distance (usually more than two meters is best, your extinguisher can reach farther than you think!). Again, the distance you choose should be informed by the strength of the extinguisher when you initially tested it.


Slowly squeeze the lever on the top of the extinguisher. When you stop squeezing, the flow of extinguishing agent will stop.


Sweep the extinguisher from side to side. This will help spread the extinguishing agent around the base of the flame and limit the supply of oxygen. After you have smothered the flame, inspect the area and make sure there is nothing left of the fire. There is a danger of reignition when charred bits of debris are left smouldering. If you do approach the site of the fire, make sure it is safe to do so. If the fire was fuelled by a flammable liquid, combustible metal, gas, or electricity, do not inspect the area. Call emergency services and let them handle it.

how to use a fire extinguisherPREPARE YOUR WORKPLACE

Now that you know how to use a fire extinguisher, you need to make sure all the fire protection equipment in your building is in working order. At Jim’s Test & Tag, we’ve been servicing fire extinguishers for over 10 years.

We test extinguishers according to the current NZ standards for safety. According to the NZS 4503:2005 standard for hand-operated fire equipment, your extinguishers need to be tested at least once every 12 months to ensure functionality during an emergency. We will check your cylinders for any damage and perform any refills when they are required. We’ll also check that your device meets the standard requirements for accessibility (i.e. there are no obstructions that will prevent the use of the equipment.

After we’ve completed the fire extinguisher check, let us inspect the rest of your fire protection equipment. We can assess your fire blankets and hose reels as well as test and tag your electrical equipment. All of our services come together to prevent fires in the workplace.

Contact us today on 0800 454 654 if you have any questions about our services.

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