Is It Illegal To Use a Fire Extinguisher? (United States)  

  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you’re wondering just what will happen if you use your fire extinguisher, there are a few things to keep in mind. We’ve prepared a list of important questions to ask yourself before you use this tool.

Is It Illegal to Use a Fire Extinguisher? (Explained)

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Intro

Fire extinguishers are a powerful tool that many of us, thankfully, never really have to use too often.

They are able to put some serious fires out, while removing oxygen from the fires and distinguishing fuel.

What many might not know as well, is that there are different types of fire extinguishers to put out different types of fires.

The different colored labels on each of them depict which type of fire that it puts out.

From wood and flammable gases to cooking oils and burning metals, each different extinguisher has the ability to put out a different type of substance.

This goes to say, there’s a lot of different information and details that come with the proper use of fire extinguishers.

If a fire is happening, then no, it’s not illegal to use a fire extinguisher. If there is no fire, however, then you might be in a world of trouble.

The different situations will dictate the severity of the punishment.

There have been cases before where people have used a fire extinguisher when it was not needed and they’ve received imprisonment and citations.

It really, however, depends on how it was used and played with.

Either way, be prepared for either a stern lecture on fire safety or a lawsuit ending up with some possible jail time.

Where Are Fire Extinguishers Required?

Fire extinguishers are required in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings.

They must also have the proper identification so that citizens are able to use the extinguisher in different circumstances of fire.

You’ll often find these fire extinguishers in health care facilities, schools, day-cares, lodging and room facilities, businesses, and storage facilities.

These fire extinguishers should always be in plain sight and easy to reach in the case of a potential fire.

This is so that anyone can grab the extinguisher and diminish the fire for future circumstances.

Specific buildings may also have certain placements for fire distinguishes that make it optimal in case of a fire hazard to grab.

Many buildings also require that fire extinguisher be in the pathway of any and all exits so that people can get out safely from any harm or damage from a fire.

What Steps Should I Take If There is a Fire?

A fire is happening — how do you use a fire extinguisher correctly? First, you’ll want to sound the fire alarms.

After you sound the alarms, make sure you know the right evacuation protocols and pathways of your building. Be sure that you’re using the right type of fire extinguisher, as depicted above, and then use the correct P.A.S.S technique.

If the fire still isn’t calming down after you’ve tried to extinguish it, then it’s time to leave the building and remain safe from any further harm from the flame or from the fumes that it’s releasing.

Also, make sure that you call 9-1-1 if you have your phone handy and wait for the fire department and police to arrive to help tame the fire while you wait.

If anyone else is in the building, make sure they are able to also effectively get out and help whenever and if you can.

What Does Misusing a Fire Extinguisher Entail?

Since fire extinguishers are a vital tool, there are ways to use it properly and there are ways to use them improperly.

Of course, using a fire extinguisher when there is no fire can get you into a lot of trouble. It could result in serious legal repercussions or it could result in some pretty hefty fines.

Not only is using a fire extinguisher when there is no fire a form of misuse, but operating it poorly can also result in you or someone else getting hurt.

What does operating it poorly mean? Since there are different types of extinguishers for different types of fires, using the wrong one could result in potential damage to your own body.

It could shock you, cause an even larger chemical reaction, it could increase the carbon dioxide intake of others, and it could potentially spread the fire even further.

To avoid this, do your research and study up all of the proper ways to use a fire extinguisher and be prepared from any damage that could be done.

What Are the Legal Repercussions to Misusing a Fire Extinguisher?

While there are some stories of people simply getting a pat on the wrist, fire extinguisher misuse can result in something as serious as jail time.

Depending on the situation, you will either get some hefty fines or even as long as a couple of years in prison.

Because of this, you don’t want to test out the waters of misusing a fire extinguisher.

Instead, try to stay clear of any legal repercussions and follow the rules and regulations that come with an extinguisher.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to use one, there should be no legal repercussions.

When using it as an act of defense against a fire, you’re in the clear from any legal repercussions, fines, or stern lectures.

Just make sure that you always know which fire extinguisher to use for each specific fire.

Fires can be extremely dangerous to your physical health, to others, and to beloved buildings. In order to remain safe, always be aware of where fire extinguishers are within a building and always follow the correct rules and regulations when it comes to this useful tool.

Stay clear from any misuse, as this could result in severe legal actions and potential harm to yourself or others.

Wrap Up

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