Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep (P.A.S.S.)


Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep (P.A.S.S.) is an acronym commonly used in hospital to help all staff remember how to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency. Properly using a fire extinguisher can blast an area once or twice to help people escape an area, to help shut a door, or to extinguish enough to remove immediate danger. The range, scope, and duration of most extinguishers limits their primary functions to rescue and containment. That's a big reason they are placed near exits and hallways.

If you need to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency, the handy acronym P.A.S.S. [1] will help:

  • Pull -- pull the pin; you'll want to place the extinguisher on a hard surface or cradle the base in your arm first. Turn away from the fire and squeeze one or two test bursts to make sure it's working.
  • Aim -- aim the nozzle (or horn if a CO2 extinguisher) at the base of the fire where the fuel is being combusted.
  • Squeeze -- squeeze the handle while aiming.
  • Sweep -- continue squeezing while sweeping back and forth beyond the edge of the fire. Be careful to advance slowly on the fire; never circle the fire, since that can trap you in the area. So long as the exit is behind you, you can escape should the fire re-ignite.

As fire embers, smoke, and the extinguishment material itself still presents risk, it's always a good idea to contain the area by evacuating and shutting the door, even if it seems like a fire is completely out.

It's best to leave fire emergencies to professionals. By following R.A.C.E. and using P.A.S.S. when necessary to rescue and contain, extinguishing if possible, you can keep people away from the area of danger and return as soon as possible to the important work of providing better patient care.[2]


  1. Fire Engineering. "Hospital Fire Safety: RACE for the Extinguisher and PASS on It!" 7/1/2008.
  2. Scott Warner. Advanced Medical lab Professionals. "RACE and PASS By learning the basics of fire response. you can be prepared for any fire emergency.". Aug 2012.



Vacaville FD - P A S S - Fire Extinguisher use

Vacaville FD - P A S S - Fire Extinguisher use